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Chapter I


In 1916 (B.E. 2459), Luang Phor Sodh Candasaro (Chao Khun Phra Mongkol-Thepmuni)
rediscovered the Vijja Dhammakaya approach to meditation which had been lost sometime during the first five hundred years following the passing away of Lord Buddha. The technique leads the meditator directly along the path to enlightenment and emancipation by combining concentration (samatha) and insight (vipassana) meditation techniques. It is, thus, extremely focused and effective. Vijja Dhammakaya practice has become popular and widespread in Thailand. This book is intended to make the method more widely available to English speakers. This text is for all who seek to understand reality or the meaning of life as well as those who seek inner purification. Wisdom and virtue develop hand-in-hand. As the meditator progresses beyond the distortions of the passions, insight sharpens and understanding deepens.

Vijja Dhammakaya Meditation begins with turning the powers of observation and awareness inward. We are
accustomed to perceiving the outside world, but introspection requires special effort. Steeped in science, we have prided ourselves on "objectivity" while remaining largely unaware of inner biases. Traditional scientific objectivity required isolation from the object observed. Since quantum mechanics, science has recognized that we are part of the world we perceive and what we see depends on how we look at it. Meditation is like polishing a lens to enable us to see more clearly. Skill in meditation develops the ability to perceive experience directly without the distortions implicit in conceptualization. Many seekers turn to meditation because of dissatisfaction with life. This is the universally experienced sadness/suffering/tension (dukkha) on which Lord Buddha based the Four Noble Truths. But, this motivation to ease tensions or cope with anxieties is only a starting point. Many

meditation techniques will provide relief on this worldly level. The beauty of Vijja Dhammakaya is that it leads directly upwards from this plane to more and more refined, purer and purer levels of awareness. Vijja Dhammakaya does not require blind faith. You do not have to believe in Buddhism to benefit from it. It is a method for training the mind to become concentrated and keenly aware, focused inward at the center of the body. With practice, you will encounter new experiences for yourself and will develop confidence. The effectiveness of the Vijja Dhammakaya approach derives from focusing attention at the center of the body and combining three meditation techniques simultaneously. Meditators often debate the efficacy of concentration (samatha) versus insight (vipassana) . Vijja Dhammakaya employs elements of both. Higher and higher levels of concentration enable insight to progress from more worldly Right Understanding to supramundane Right Wisdom .

The Book The Heart of Dhammakaya Meditation is based on lectures given at the Buddhist Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur during a three-day visit to Malaysia, August 1st to 3rd 1990. In addition, I have included the chapter on Basic Vijja Dhammakaya Meditation Practice to complement the theoretical aspect of the three lectures from the practical viewpoint.
The original lectures were interspersed with meditation practice. In fact, the procedure was usually to practice first and discuss afterwards. We have had to adopt a more academic approach for the general reader, but I urge all to try practicing the meditation approach presented. Basic Vijja Dhammakaya practice is described in Chapter V and additional aids such as sound and video tapes are available from the Dhammakaya Buddhist Meditation Foundation (DBMF). The First Edition of this book was published by the DBMF in March 1991, largely due to the devotion and dedication of our Malaysian colleagues at the Dhammakaya Meditation Resource Center (DMRC) in Kuala Lumpur. This Second Edition was revised in the United States to make the teachings available to a wider audience. Chapter II considers the relationship between Concentration-Insight Meditation (SamathaVipassana) and the Noble Eightfold Path . Chapters III and IV deal with the development of Right Concentration and Right Wisdom respectively. Chapter V presents Dhamma practice according to the Dhammakaya approach. Chapter VI lists questions and answers, and Chapter VII provides a summary and conclusion. The appendices provide a biography of our spiritual leader, the late Chao Khun Phra Mongkol-Thepmuni and the premeditation service, including the requesting and accepting of the five precepts of morality. For precision, Pali terms are included throughout the text along with their English renderings. Pali is presented in italics using the Romanized alphabet according to Warder (1991). The letter , sometimes written as , is pronounced "ng". Pali words are defined in the Glossary and philosophical debates are discussed in the Notes. Capitalization is used to distinguish between dhamma and Dhamma , where the former refers to all compound phenomena and the latter to the teachings of Lord Buddha.

Technical Buddhist terms like Right Understanding , Five Hindrances , and Eightfold Path are italicized to indicate that they should be understood in the special sense intended by the Enlightened One. The word Right , for example, relates to the absolute or ultimate as opposed to the conventional "right" which is a matter of personal point-of-view. I welcome comments from all readers and critics. I will feel that all these efforts are worthwhile if readers practice the meditation technique and realize for themselves what Vijja Dhammakaya is all about.

Chapter II

Samatha-Vipassana Meditation by concentration of the mind to remove the Five Hindrances is known as samatha ,
while the contemplation of physical body, feelings, mental functions and phenomena (dhamma) to develop Right Wisdom is called vipassana . The Vijja Dhammakaya approach includes aspects of both samatha and vipassana meditation . After Enlightenment, Lord Buddha taught Four Noble Truths . These are Suffering (dukkha) , the Cause of Suffering (samudaya) , Cessation of Suffering (nirodha) , and the Noble Eightfold Path (magga) leading to the extinction of suffering. The Noble Eightfold Path (ariyo atthangiko maggo) consists of Right Understanding , Right Thought , Right Speech , Right Action , Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration of mind. Dhamma practices leading to the Noble Eightfold Path are classified under the three categories sila or morality, samatha or Right Concentration and vipassana or Right Wisdom .

Let's first consider how to follow the first three folds of the Noble Eightfold Path which are known as sila (morality). These are Right Speech , Right Action (or conduct), and Right Living (or Livelihood). When a person accepts precepts and practices sila , it helps to prevent wrong speech and wrong action resulting from wrong mind, which arises under the influence of greed, attachment, anger, ill-will or delusion. Practicing speech, bodily action and mind based on the precepts of morality helps us become more and more peaceful.

Samatha Meditation leads us to the next three folds of the Noble Eightfold Path. These are Right Effort , Right Mindfulness , and Right Concentration . The practice of Samatha Meditation deals with concentration. It helps to remove the Five Hindrances (nivarana) to wisdom which are attachment to sensual desire, ill-will, inactivity or sleepiness, anxiety or restlessness of mind, and doubtfulness. Samatha Meditation also helps to develop mind powers (abhinna) , especially supernormal vision and supernormal hearing. These, in turn, assist in the development of supernormal knowledge of the past and future. Samatha also helps in learning about the natural Law of Kamma (cause and effect) as well as rebirth. This is very helpful for developing Right Wisdom in Vipassana meditation. Samatha meditation also helps to calm down and remove craving, passion, and attachment to compounds or worldly objects.

Vipassana meditation is the technique for developing Right Wisdom . This derives from contemplation of the four Foundations of Mindfulness (satipatthana) , the physical body, feelings, mental functions and phenomena (dhamma) . It includes Right Wisdom with regard to the Five Hindrances , the Five Aggregates , the Four Noble Truths , and the Twelve Links in the Chain of Dependent Origination . Concerning Right Wisdom , we should develop Right Understanding of the two fundamental aspects of Nature: First is Right Understanding of the three common characteristics of compounds. Lord Buddha said: sabbe sankhara anicca All compounds are impermanent. sabbe sankhara dukkha All compounds are unsatisfactory or subject to suffering. Therefore, any person who attaches to compounds with craving and delusion will suffer, according to the degree of attachment. Finally, sabbe dhamma anatta All compounds are devoid of self. Some translate the phrase sabbe dhamma literally as "all phenomena" (both compound and noncompound). This is not true. According to Lord Buddha's Teaching in the Dhammapada Pali text,

as interpreted by the original arahant commentators and by the most recent translators (Carter and Palihawadana 1987) 2, the words sabbe dhamma , in this context, refer only to the Five Aggregates . These are sankhara or compounds. Thus, the reference excludes pure, noncompound aspects of nature such as nibbana . The second aspect of nature to be discerned with Right Wisdom is Right Understanding of noncompound nature (visankhara) . This means "the pure" and pertains to nibbana . The Pali Canon describes nibbana as not subject to change, of pure essence (dhammasram) and absolutely permanent (niccam) . It is everlasting (tadi/dhuvam) , with no more death and rebirth. Any person who attains nibbana will find supreme peace and happiness (nibbanam paramam sukham) .

The Noble Eightfold Path

Vipassana Meditation also helps to develop Right Wisdom of the Four Noble Truths . These include the Noble Eightfold Path as the fourth Noble Truth , the path leading to the cessation of all suffering. Vipassana leads to Right Thought and Right Intention . Right Thought pertaining to the Four Noble Truths and Right Intention for the removal of all passions. This includes the subtlest passion, mental attachment (anusaya kilesa or asava kilesa) and the subtlest ignorance, especially inherent misconception (avijjasava or avijjaanusaya) which is the root cause of suffering. Vipassana also helps to cut the Chain of Dependent Origination . Initially, ignorance (avijja) gives rise to impression (samkhara) , impression brings about consciousness (vinnana) , consciousness originates the psycho-physical organism (nama-rupa) , and this results in the sense organs (salayatana) . These, in turn, bring about contact (phassa) , feeling (vedana) , craving (tanha) , attachment (upadana) , will-to-become (bhava) , rebirth (jati) , and the suffering of old age, sickness, despair, sorrow and death (jara-marana) . When the Noble Eightfold Path is perfectly cleared, at least the following three fetters will be cut: Wrong View (sakkaya ditthi) about the characteristics of all compounds Doubtfulness (vicikiccha) about the Dhamma practice leading to nibbana Wrong Religious Practices (silabbataparamasa) Those who have fully opened the Noble Eightfold Path and are able to cut these fetters will become Noble Ones , beginning as Stream Enterers (sotapannas) .

Vijja Dhammakaya

Let us consider the principles underlying the Vijja Dhammakaya approach to samatha vipassana meditation. Some may think that the approach is new and is not in the scriptures or is not Lord Buddha's teachings. In fact, this method is exactly the teaching of Buddha. The final goal of meditation is to reach nibbana by removing all ignorance and passions, and by developing Right Wisdom regarding the path of attainment. All this is possible when you reach Dhammakaya . Dhammakaya is really Lord Buddha.Lord Buddha said: vasettha, Dhammakayo brahmakayo dhammabhuto brahmabhuto tathagatassa Agganna Sutta This means Dhammakaya is the name of Lord Buddha, or is Lord Buddha. Both Lord Buddha and the other Noble Ones (arahantas) spoke of Dhammakaya . They described Enlightenment or attainment of nibbana through the arising of Dhammakaya . So, Lord Buddha or the arahanta is really Dhammakaya which is the purest element. It is noncompound, and very different from the crude body. The crude body is a compound thing like the Five Aggregates , which is subjected to change. Anyone who is attached to such compounds will suffer, because soon the compounds will no longer exist. The Dhammakaya arahanta is not of that character. He is permanent. The Pali word dhammasaram means "essential&" and niccam means "permanent". Nibbanam paramam sukham means nibbana is the highest or supreme happiness (pertaining to something which exists forever). The Pali words tadi or dhuvam are used when referring to nibbana which is non-compound like Dhammakaya . Lord Buddha said: Bhikkhus, non-compound nature exists; if the non-compound or purest nature were nonexistent, there would be no detachment from that which is compound. It is due to the existence of the non- compound that detachment from the compound becomes possible. Nibbana Sutta III.

Some ask why nobody mentioned Dhammakaya earlier. In fact, all of this information is in the
scriptures. Then, why did so many overlook it? I can only answer that Luang Phor Wat Paknam, in particular, meditated all the way to nibbana and could see these two natures, the compound and non-compound, exactly as Lord Buddha described them. I cannot comment on those who say othewise. Those who hear this Dhamma which talks about both the compound and the non-

compound (nibbana) are very lucky. In the following chapters we will examine the principles of samatha and vipassana along with Vijja Dhammakaya . You will see that the Vijja Dhammakaya approach is exactly in accordance with Lord Buddha's teachings and aims directly at supramundane Right Wisdom (nibbana) . The Dhammakaya , which is the purest element, is non-compound and possesses characteristics of nibbana . Luang Phor Wat Paknam taught his disciples to aim at the Right , purest Dhammakaya nature, or nibbana , and to understand nibbana in all aspects. We have seen that Lord Buddha was enlightened to the Four Noble Truths: Suffering , the Cause of Suffering , Cessation of Suffering , and the Noble Eightfold Path leading to the extinction of suffering. We have also described the three basic Dhamma practices that develop the Noble Eightfold Path : sila or observance of moral precepts, samatha meditation for concentration of the mind to remove the Five Hindrances , and vipassana meditation which involves contemplation of the physical body, feelings, mental functions and dhamma to develop to Right Wisdom . When the Noble Eightfold Path is firmly established, meditators will be able to cut at least three fetters (samyojana) . These are wrong view regarding the characteristics of compounds (sakkayaditthi) , doubtfulness about the Three Gems and Dhamma practices (vicikiccha) , and wrong practices (silabbata paramasa) . With these fetters removed, practitioners will be able to become Noble Ones and attain nibbana .

In summary, meditation by concentrating the mind to remove the Five Hindrances is known as samatha , while contemplation of the physical body, feelings, mental functions and dhamma to develop Right Wisdom is called vipassana. These meditation practices must be based on sila or moral precepts. Anyone practicing these Dhamma can be sure they will attain Right Wisdom concerning Suffering , the Cause of Suffering , Cessation of Suffering , and the Noble Eightfold Path leading to the extinction of suffering--in short, the Four Noble Truths. The Vijja Dhammakaya approach includes aspects of both samatha and vipassana . It is not a new doctrine. Dhammakaya is mentioned in the scriptures and the method follows exactly Lord Buddha's teachings. This meditation technique leads directly to nibbana . Dhammakaya is the non-compound. Thus, it is nibbana and is Lord Buddha. The approach is especially effective because the meditator who has reached dhammakaya can see and experience both compound and non-compound nature. With practice, he or she can cut the fetters and become a Noble One (arahanta).

Chapter III

Samatha Practice
Meditation by concentrating the mind is known as samatha (serenity). Samatha removes the Five Hindrances (nivarana) and prepares the mind for Wisdom (Vipassana) meditation. The Five Hindrances are attachment to sensual desire,ill-will, inactivity or sleepiness, anxiety or restlessness, and doubt. The mind is accustomed to flitting from object to object in the outside world. Concentrating the mind and bringing it in requires effort, but the mind cannot be forced. Therefore, Lord Buddha taught various concentration devices.

Concentration Devices
Lord Buddha taught forty concentration devices or meditation subjects for tranquilizing the mind (Buddha- ghosa, The Path of Purification). They are the ten recollections (anussati), ten meditations on impurities (asubha) , ten complete objects (kasina), four immaterial absorptions (arupajhana), four divine abidings (brahmavihara), one perception (ahare patikulasanna) or contemplation of the impurity of material food, and one defining contemplation (vavatthana) on the Four Elements (earth, water, fire, and air). The ten anussatis or recollections are buddhanus-sati or recollection of the virtues of the Buddha, dhammanussati or recollection of the virtues of the Dhamma, sanghanussati or recollection of the virtues of the sangha, silanussati or recollection of the duties of morality, devatanussati or recollection of celestial beings, caganussati or recollection of generosity, anapanasati or mindfulness of breathing, kayagatasati or mindfulness of the body, recollection of nibbana or peace, and recollection of death. The ten impurities or kinds of foulness (asubha) are the bloated, the livid, the festering, the cutup, the gnawed, the scattered, the hacked and scattered, the bleeding, the worm-infested, and a skeleton.

The ten kasina or complete objects are earth, water, fire, wind, space, light (aloka kasina) and the four colors or vaa kasia (blue, yellow, red, and white). The four divine abodes or brahmavihara are loving kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (upekkha). A meditator can select any one or combination of these forty meditation subjects, according to his or her own character. For example, kasina concentration is very suitable for those with sensual desire, restlessness of mind, or inclination toward anger, hatred or ill will. For those whose habits are intellectual thought, devotion or delusion, mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati) and recollection of Buddha's virtues (buddhanussati) are most suitable.

Vijja Dhammakaya Meditation

Vijja Dhammakaya Meditation is based on four principles: three methods of concentration and the Principle of the Center. The three concentration techniques are: meditating on an object of visualization (kasina), recollection of Lord Buddha's virtues (buddhanussati) and mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati) The Principle of the Center specifies that these three methods of concentration are all applied simultaneously at the center of the body. Thereafter, meditation proceeds to successively higher levels by always focusing at the center of the center. This combination of techniques is effective for meditators of all different types.

The Object of Visualization

The Vijja Dhammakaya object of visualization (parikamma-nimitta) is usually a luminous sphere or translucent Buddha Statue. In bhavana or meditation practice, we teach visualization of the light sphere (aloka-kasina). When you visualize, your mind resides in the object you conceive. Whatever you see in the mind, your mind is right there. If you think about a member of your household, your mind will be with them. If you visualize a sphere and you see the sphere, it means that all four components of the mind have come together inside the sphere. This is why we ask you to imagine a sphere, to concentrate the components of the mind. If you lose mindfulness of the sphere, you will see something else. This means your mind has gone elsewhere. Try to keep visualizing in order to keep your mind inside the sphere. The four components of the mind are the spheres of vision, memory, thought and awareness. Use all four in imagining the sphere. Visualize it. Remember what the sphere is like. (It is transparent like this, clear like this...) Think about the sphere all the time. There is a transparent spot at the very center of the sphere. Keep your awareness focused there. Don't let the mind wander away. Know all about the sphere. Visualization progresses through three stages on the way to the first state of absorption (jhana). First is ordinary perception. The meditation object (kasina) visualized at the beginning is called the preliminary vision (parikamma-nimitta).

As the meditator concentrates on the light object and commits it to memory, the image becomes more and more refined, clearer and clearer, until it looks like a crystal ball. This is known as the learning sign (uggaha-nimitta) and is the first level of meditation. Luang Phor Wat Paknam taught his disciples to visualize the light sphere or parikamma-nimitta until the uggaha-nimitta appears. When the meditator concentrates at the center of the uggaha-nimitta until it becomes very clear, bright and still, he or she will become able to enlarge or reduce it. Then, the counterpart sign (patibhaga-nimitta), which looks like a crystal sphere, will emerge. This is the second stage of concentration, the light object (aloka- kasina), and is called parikamma-bhavana or preliminary meditation. The appearance of the aloka-kasina marks the beginning of substantial meditation. The purpose of this approach is to bring all of the mind components in the crystal sphere to be more and more perfectly concentrated at the center of the body. This concentration helps to remove all the passions such as inactivity or sloth, sleepiness and doubtfulness. When the meditator stops still at the center of the light object (patibhaga-nimitta), he or she will feel delight in this state of mind and ill-will will be removed. If fear creeps in, the practitioner will lose this state, but if he or she continues to become more and more peaceful, stopping still at the center of each center to become more and more refined, the patibhaga-nimitta will become very bright and clear, and the meditator will feel very happy or blissful. Restlessness of mind and anxiety will be removed. By keeping the mind still at the center, all sensual desires will be removed. This stage is the first absorption or pathama-jhana. This is concentration on the light object or aloka-kasina. It is one of the easiest and most effective methods for concentrating the mind.

Recollection of Buddha's Virtues

Vijja Dhammakaya meditation combines visualiza- tion of the light object (aloka-kasina) with recollection of Buddha's virtues. Buddhanussati is cultivated by means of a repetitive word or mantra (parikamma-bhavana). The Vijja Dhammakaya mantra is "samma arahang". Samma means Right, Highest or Ultimate. It stands for sammasambuddho which means the Buddha's Supreme Right Enlightenment or Supreme Right Wisdom. The word arahan means the virtue of the Buddha being far away from passion. In other words, it represents perfect purity. Thus, when you repeat the words "samma arahang, "samma arahang" you are calling Buddha's wisdom and purity into your mind. This is Buddhanussati or recollection of Lord Buddha's virtue. The meditator mentally repeats samma arahan while simultaneously visualizing the light object (aloka-kasina). The recitation helps to make the vision of the sphere bright and clear.

Mindfulness of Breathing
Vijja Dhammakaya Meditation also combines mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati) with visualization of the light object (aloka-kasina) and repetition of samma arahan. All three techniques are focused at the center of the body.

Those who perform mindfulness of breathing or anapanasati correctly stay mindful of the breath touching a fixed point and visualize it. They do not follow the breathing in and out or up and down. In this way the mind becomes more and more refined and finally stops still. Luang Phor Wat Paknam applied anapanasati to the center of the body to help the mind become concentrated there. To focus the mind at the center of the body where your breathing ends, concentrate your mindfulness at the center of the light sphere and observe your breathing in and out. Your breath passes through the sphere and you can visualize it. This is mindfulness of breathing or anapanasati. Do this until you see the sphere clearer and clearer, then forget about the breathing. anapanasati helps the mind become concentrated more quickly. As the mind concentrates, breathing becomes shallower. The mind becomes more and more refined until it stops still at the center of the body. This is the purpose of anapanasati.

The Principle of the Center

The fourth foundation of Vijja Dhammakaya meditation practice is the Principle of the Center. Luang Phor Wat Paknam discovered that the mind naturally resides at the center of the body, two finger breadths above the navel. Only when the mind is at rest at the body's center can one penetrate to the full depths of the Dhamma as it was revealed to Lord Buddha. Using the three techniques described, the meditator first brings the aloka kasina sphere to the center of the body. Then, he or she proceeds to focus again and again at the "center of the center" of concentric spheres as they appear. In this way, the meditator progresses through more and more refined body-minds to dhammakaya and nibbana. This combination of techniques applied at the center of the body can help meditators of all types to solve their problems and achieve rapid success in samatha meditation. It is especially effective because all three methods are appropriate across a wide range of psychological tendencies.

Drawing the Mind Inward

The uncontrolled mind is attracted outward through sensory contact and flits restlessly from object to object. Bringing the mind to concentrate at the center of the body requires considerable effort. You cannot, however, force the mind. If you try, it slips away. This is why Vijja Dhammakaya uses the light sphere, samma arahan and anapanasati to concentrate the mind and make it tractable.

Coaxing the Mind

Don't force the mind too much. If you force it, the sphere goes away. On the other hand, if your energy is too slack, the sphere will also disappear and you won't know where it has gone. If you feel too eager to see the sphere, you can't. It's gone again. Mental training is like pressing a ping pong ball into water. You must have the right balance. Relax a little. Don't press too hard. Don't be anxious, but don't be slack or allow sleepiness to creep in. Just coax the mind. Soothe it evenly and peacefully. The mind is something you cannot

force. Keep your mind alert at all times. If the mind wanders away, recognize it immediately. Bring the mind back as soon as it goes off somewhere. How do you bring the mind back? Just visualize the sphere and repeat samma arahan. The mind will come into the sphere again. That's all.

The Path to the Center of the Body

Luang Phor Wat Paknam taught a specific method for beginning meditators to bring the light sphere (aloka kasina) to the center of the body. There are seven positions along the way. We will study this in detail in Chapter V. Let us, however, summarize the method here to complete consideration of samatha meditation. Begin by visualizing the sphere at the nostril aperture (Position 1), for ladies on the left and for gentlemen on the right, while mentally reciting the words samma arahang about three times to keep the sphere clear and still. What is the proper size of the sphere? Whatever you can visualize. About the size of an eyeball will do. Don't worry that a larger sphere couldn't fit into the nose. All transparent things can go anywhere. Whatever the starting size, the sphere will become even larger if the mind stops still. Move the sphere from your nostril upwards into your nose to the eye-socket (Position 2), for ladies on the left, for gentlemen on the right. Move it inside the eye-socket, not outside. Focus your mind at the center of the sphere inside your eye-socket and mentally recite the words samma arahang, samma arahang, samma arahang.. Then, move the sphere slowly, keeping your mind at its center by seeing the transparent spot at the center of the sphere. Slowly move the sphere to the center of the head (Position 3). Where is the center of the head? Suppose you have two lines, from the front to the back and from left to right. The intersection of those two lines is the center of your head. The sphere should be in line with your eye-sockets, not above or below. After you have mentally recited the words samma arahang, samma arahang to keep the sphere still at the center, move it downwards slowly to your palate, the ceiling of your mouth (Position 4). Just visualize that the sphere can go anywhere. Don't bite it, just see it. Repeat the words samma arahang, samma arahang at least three times to keep the sphere still.

You may find difficulty in moving the sphere downwards. That is because your mind is used to being outside all the time. It is difficult to bring it inside and it requires some time to train the mind. If you meditate correctly, you will be able to bring your mind in. Vijja Dhammakaya is one of the most effective methods for doing this. It may be difficult for the beginner, but later it becomes easier. To solve the problem of bringing the mind with the sphere downwards into the center of the body, roll your eyeballs upwards a little bit temporarily. This makes your mind components move backwards and downwards. Then, focus your attention at the center of the sphere and move it downwards, position by position. Mentally move the bright, clear sphere slowly and directly downward to rest at the throat aperture (Position 5). Repeat the words samma arahang to yourself three times to keep the sphere bright and clear and to hold it steady. Next, move the sphere down to the center of the body, in line with your navel (Position 6). This is the end of the path of your breath. Repeat the words samma arahang, samma arahang here, about three times, then move the sphere upwards about an inch. Not exactly an inch, just approximately (about two finger breadths). This is the final location (Position 7) where the mind naturally resides at the center of the body. This technique for drawing the mind inward is a preliminary practice. Meditators who can do it and know where the center of the body is do not need to move the sphere from starting to final position every time. They can begin directly at the center of the body in the seventh position. Those who find difficulty in moving the mind into the center of the body will just have to practice patiently until they can do it well.

The Center of the Body

When the mind stops still at the center of your body, the psycho-physical elements (water, fire, wind, earth, space, and consciousness) are all at one-pointedness. You can see with your mind the actual light sphere or pathama magga which is your own real nucleus. It is very bright and luminous. When you see this, forget about all visualizations. Forget about reciting the mantra. Just rest your mind at the center. Then, the center will expand itself. More and more refined spheres will appear. Just stop still at the center of the center of each, until you reach the most refined one. Then, stop still. When your mind stops still at the center of the body you can see your own dhamma. Why do I say dhamma is here and not in the scriptures or elsewhere? Because all practices of body, speech and mind regarding Right Action, Right Speech, and Right Thought lead to the mind becoming purer and purer at the center of the body. This is where the mind performs its functions. If you meditate at the center of your body, your mind will become purer and purer.

Pure Form
Purification of the mind is the purpose of mindfulness (satipatthana). When you see your mind is

impure, you must purify it right away. You do this by holding it still at the center of the center until you reach pure dhamma, the purest mind and body you can attain. This is the Vijja Dhammakaya practice. When your mind is perfectly concentrated at its most refined and purest state, the center expands and you can see your own refined human body (manussakaya) at the center of the sphere within your crude human body. This is the result of proper meditation. It means your human-level dhamma is pure and happy. Then, larger and larger spheres will appear within the refined human body. As you continue, you can reach celestial dhamma and see your own celestial body and mind (dibbakaya) which is about double the size of the human body. As your body and mind and the elements of the Five Aggregates become purer and purer you can reach the Brahman Body (rupabrahmakaya) which is about double the size of the Celestial Body. Next, you will see the Formless Brahman Body (arupabrahmakaya) which is about double the size of the Brahman Body. Don't worry about the name; whatever you see, that's it. Don't be surprised when you see the refined body becoming larger and larger, very refined, very beautiful with adornments and very radiant. This is due to the merit which you have performed. Proceed to become the more and more refined bodies and minds, by placing your mind at the center of the center of each. When your mind reaches the purest state, you will see Dhammakaya. It looks like a transparent Buddha statue, radiant with a lotus-bud upon the head. The standard height is about nine meters in width and height. That is the preliminary size. From then on, subsequent Dhammakayas will be larger and larger, and more and more refined. They become very radiant, and up to forty meters in height and width. Do not be surprised. You might ask Why practice according to this approach in which the meditator sees the body larger and larger? If you can see an angel or deva, the real deva or brahma is even larger. Don't be surprised. You can be sure of this. There exist internal bodies. There are at least eighteen bodies, each more and more refined, purer and purer, until the most refined body, the Dhammakaya. You will perceive Dhammakaya when your mind is at the purest. By stopping still at the center of the center, you will pass through the spheres of all mundane bodies (the manussa, deva, rupabrahma and arupabrahma bodies), until you reach the supra-mundane body, Dhammakaya. Then, you have attained nibbana. Why can you reach nibbana during meditation? So long as you purify your mind by stopping still at the center of the center, your mind will become purer and purer until it temporarily reaches the purest. This is temporarily way beyond, or above, or far away from the passions, due to meditation. This is called vikkhambhanavimutti. In that state of mind you can see nibbana. You can see Lord Buddha who exists in nibbana. This is in the Scriptures. Don't doubt it. Lord Buddha says that there is a supra-mundane place where Lord Buddha and Lord Buddha's disciples reside. It exists. atthi bhikkhave, tadayatanan... Monks, there exists the sphere of nibbana...

Pataligamiya vagga Nibbana Sutta III

Samatha meditation aims at concentration to remove the Five Hindrances. Lord Buddha taught forty meditation devices. Vijja Dhammakaya utilizes three of these simultaneously, focused at the center of the body. They are visualization of the light object (aloka kasina), repetition of samma arahang, and mindfulness of breathing or anapanasati. Luang Phor Wat Paknam taught how to use these techniques to bring the mind inward to rest at the center of the body. Here you can see your own true nucleus or Dhamma where the results of Right Action, Right Speech and Right Thought can be observed. Continuing to concentrate and purify your mind at the center of the center, you can pass through eighteen internal body-minds until you reach non-com pound Dhammakaya and temporarily attain nibbana. In this state you can see nibbana and Lord Buddha who resides in nibbana.


Chapter IV

Vipassana Practice
Vipassana practice aims at development of Right Wisdom with regard to the Five Hindrances, Five Aggregates, the Four Noble Truths, and the twelve links in the Chain of Dependent Origination. It consists of contemplation of physical body, feeling, mental functions and phenomena (dhammaa). I have collected the following information from the scriptures, along with the rendering of the famous commentator, Acariya Phra Buddhaghosa, whom we believe to be a Noble One. His interpretations of Lord Buddha's Teachings have become the texts for Pali study in Thailand, from the elementary to the advanced level. Other materials presented here are collected from the Vijja

Dhammakaya teachings of Luang Phor Wat Paknam, the Most Venerable Chao Khun Phra Mongkol Thepmuni, and his disciples. All of this information I am very sure is valid and leads directly to the supra-mundane state of nibbana, our ultimate goal in practicing Buddhism. Some words may be a bit difficult to understand, especially for beginners in the study of Buddhism. I will try my best to make them clear by using simple explanations. Vipassana practice can be divided into two levels: mundane Right Understanding of compound phenomena (sankhara), which is called anupassana and supra-mundane Right Understanding of non-compound nature (visatkhara). The first level focuses on mindfulness of the Five Hindrances to wisdom and helps develop Right Understanding of the impermanence of compound phenomena such as the Five Aggregates of our body-mind complex. However, this level cannot remove cravings permanently. The meditator must proceed to supra-mundane vipassana practice to develop Right Understanding regarding the Four Noble Truths and the Chain of Dependent Origination (paticca samupapada). Vijja Dhammakaya meditation is especially effective for bringing meditators beyond the mundane to the supra-mundane. In the Vijja Dhammakaya approach, practitioners learn not only by studying, listening and reading texts, but also by seeing and feeling for themselves. As their minds become purer and purer, meditators come to see that they have Dhammakaya within themselves. This is very efficient. It develops Right Understanding and Right Wisdom through direct experience as well as learning from scriptures. It is not just imagination as some critics suppose.

Compound Phenomena

vipassana meditation reveals that all compounds, including the Five Aggregates of the
psycho-physical organism, are impermanent and subject to change. That is why they cause suffering to those who attach to them with craving and delusion. Finally, vipassana discloses that such compounds as your "self" do not exist. All compounds are "non-self" (anatta). Contemplation of compounds (anupassana) is comprised of four practices: contemplation of the internal and external physical body (kayanupassana), contemplation of feeling or sensation (vedananupassana), contemplation of mental functions (cittanupassana), and contemplation of compound phenomena (dhammanupassana). When the meditator has concentrated the mind at the center of the body, the meditator can see his or her own real nucleus or Dhamma Sphere (patibhaga-nimitta) where all practices of body, speech and mind regarding Right Action, Right Speech , and Right Thought lead to the mind becoming purer and purer.

The Five Aggregates (khandha)

The psycho-physical organism is composed of the Five Aggregates, the body and four mind components. The form aggregate or rupakhandha consists of the elements of water, earth, fire (temperature), wind, space, and cognition. The cognitive element contains the four mind aggregates. The crude physical body is the outside aggregate made up of all these elements.

The four mind components are: (1) vision, feeling, and sensation (vedana) (2) memory and perception (sanna) (3) thought (sankhara) (4) awareness(vinnana). These are pure elements in the form of concentric spheres at the center of the body. With concen tration, each center enlarges itself, emerging as a sphere. First comes the sphere of vision, then memory, then thought, and finally the sphere of awareness. By refraining from unwholesome (bad) conduct, performing wholesome acts, and purifying your mind, your mind will become purer and purer. The Five Aggregates and their elements become purer and purer. The sphere you see becomes pure, transparent, bright and refined. You can be sure that your mind, together with your body, or all elements of the Five Aggregates are also pure and refined. The purer your mind becomes, the more you will receive good results in the form of happiness and well-being. But, if you perform bad deeds and do not purify your mind, then the five elements of mind and form (nama-rupa) become impure. The sphere becomes cloudy and impure with passions which will cause you troubles in life and unhappiness.

This is what Lord Buddha taught, the contemplation of dhamma. Dhamma is located at the center of your body. Mindfulness through contemplation of dhamma purifies the mind and the Five Aggregates. This leads to more and more refined mental states, revealing more and more refined body-minds. This is what happens when you keep your mind still at the center of the center. So long as your mind is pure, how can you do anything bad?

Characteristics of Compounds
When you purify your mind beyond arupabrahma, you will reach Dhammakaya, the purest state of mind. Dhammakaya is non-compound. From here you can see clearly that all bodies at any level below this are compounds composed of the Five Aggregates. They are all subject to change and anyone who attaches to them will suffer because compounds do not last forever. Realization of this is the purpose of mundane vipassana meditation (anupassana). The meditator develops Right Wisdom about the three common characteristics of compound things. You learn: sabbe sankhara anicca All compounds are impermanent sabbe sankhara dukkha

All compounds cause suffering. sabbe dhamma anatta All compounds are non-self.

Non-Compound Nature
Non-compound nature, however, is not described by these three characteristics. When one meditates, he or she becomes more and more refined, purer and purer, until the purest Dhammakaya state of mind is reached. Then one can experience and see nibbana for oneself. In nibbana you can see the Enlightened Dhammakaya of Lord Buddha. Those who have attained the Dhammakaya level can see both compound and noncompound nature. nibbana, the supra-mundane sphere is permanent, supreme happiness, existing forever. Let us consider contemplation at the supramundane level in greater detail. At this level, the practitioner contemplates higher-level Dhamma: The Five Aggregates (pancakhandha), the Four Noble Truths (ariya-sacca), Dependent Origination (paticca samupapada), the Twelve Bases of Cognition (of the six sense organs), the Eighteen Elements (dhatus) and the Twenty-two Potential Faculties (indriyas). In this state of mind, we aim at removal of ignorance, the root cause of suffering, by analyzing the Twelve Links in the Chain of Dependent Origination. From ignorance originates impression, impression originates consciousness, consciousness originates the psycho-physical organism (nama-rupa), the psycho-physical organism originates the six sense organs, the six sense organs originate contact, feeling, craving, attachment, rebirth and suffering due to old age, sickness, and death. Supra-mundane vipassana meditation also involves contemplation of the external physical body as well as all its internal parts. We find, in reality, that all the parts of the body are impure. Not even a single part is pure. Then, supra-mundane vipassana meditation proceeds to help develop higher levels of Right Understanding of the Four Noble Truths, especially about suffering. One who attains Dhammakaya can visualize the sphere of suffering at the center of the body for each person or other creature. The sphere of suffering contains the sphere of old age, the sphere of sickness, and the sphere of death. For example, when a person is going to die, his or her sphere of death will appear at the center of the sphere of the human body. When the sphere of the human body separates from the sphere of the celestial body, the person dies. This is the way to learn deeply about suffering within one's own self or suffering within other people. As the practitioner develops to higher supramundane levels, he or she comes to understand the Four Noble Truths, attachment to the Five Aggregates, and Dependent Origination. Subsequently, the meditator will also develop the Seven Enlightenment Factors. All these realizations will develop along the Noble Eightfold Path. When the Noble Eightfold Path is followed perfectly at that level, the practitioner can cut all fetters to worldly objects and become a

Noble One. All these aspects of Right Understanding help the practitioner to calm his or her mind and remove the passions of hatred, ill will, sensual desire, greed and delusion - especially excessive desires. He or she comes to understand that the more one is attached to any compound with craving and delusion, the more sufferings he will have. Thus, the practitioner learns how to make the mind neutral and peaceful. This supramundane level of meditation can effectively cut fetters, reduce or remove passions, and lighten attachment to this world. The Vijja Dhammakaya approach is very efficient in developing this Right Understanding. When you sit in meditation and concentrate by keeping your mind still at the center of your body, your mind becomes purer and purer until you attain more and more refined bodies. Eventually you will reach the purest state of mind, Dhammakaya. Then you will be able to see clearly with your inner vision that all of the mundane bodies from the human (manussakaya) up through the more and more refined bodies such as the celestial (dibbakaya), Brahman (rupabrahmakaya) and Formless Brahman (arupabrahmakaya) are impermanent, subject to change, and non-self. Vijja Dhammakaya meditation develops the faculties of supernormal vision and hearing. You can come to see the whole mundane world, starting from the Sensual World (kamaloka) to the World of Pure Form (rupabrahmaloka) and the Formless World (arupabrahmaloka). You can see the hells and celestial worlds whenever you like. Through meditation you come to see how all worldly creatures suffer. They suffer in the suffering worlds because of their own unwholesome kamma. They experience happiness in the happy worlds due to their wholesome kamma. Supernormal vision and hearing are very helpful for the development of supernormal recollection of former existences. Those who have attained the Dhammakaya level can also understand rebirth and the passing away of beings. They develop the supernormal knowledge to see former existences of themselves and of other mundane creatures, as well as to see the future or results of kamma. You can also attain supernormal knowledge of cause and effect, the Natural Law of Kamma. You can see with your supernormal vision that whoever performs good (kusala) actions will be reborn in a happy world. In contrast, those who commit bad or unwholesome (akusala) actions will be reborn into suffering worlds such as hells or as animals or ghosts. You come to know that until they overcome their ignorance, all mundane creatures will be reborn in either happy or suffering worlds, according to the nature of their constantly changing kamma. Mundane existence is impermanent, changing endlessly, sometimes happy and sometimes sad. After seeing all these facets of nature, you will understand. The meditator can see the effects of kamma directly. Those who commit unwholesome acts and violate precepts of morality regularly will see their refined bodies, especially their refined human body, become impure and look unhappy. On the other hand, those who perform good, wholesome (kusala) conduct will have pure refined human bodies and more and more refined bodies, according to the quality of their daily actions. As their minds become purer and purer, they can attain Dhammakaya and see their Dhammakaya within. When we analyze Dependent Origination at the supramundane level, we learn that ignorance

causes craving which leads to attachment and eventually to rebirth. From ignorance comes craving along with bad conduct, bad speech and bad thoughts. These, in turn, cause attachment and rebirth. This is the Chain of Dependent Origination. Its nature can be understood through meditation according to the Vijja Dhammakaya approach up to the Dhammakaya level. Thus, in the Vijja Dhammakaya approach, we know not only by studying, listening and reading, but also by seeing directly for ourselves. This is very efficient. It develops Right Understanding by seeing and feeling as well as learning from the scriptures. It is based on experience, not imagination. If you follow the right method, you can see whatever you want to see. To develop higher-level Right Understanding, like about Extinction of Suffering (the Third Noble Truth), practitioners stop still at the exact center of purer and purer bodies. The mind becomes purer and more refined, with purer and purer Dhamma. When meditators reach Dhammakaya, they can continue purifying themselves by stopping still at centers of the Dhammakayas. More and more refined, purer and purer Dhammakayas will appear until they become non-compound in nature. That is the way one purifies one's mind. This approach leads one to Extinction of the Cause of Suffering. As meditators purify themselves by becoming more and more refined minds, bodies and dhammas, they become mindful of the dhamma, hence becoming even purer and purer dhamma. Eventually, they can attain to the state of non-compound nature. This is nirodha or the Extinction of Suffering by experience, not just thinking about it or imagining it. Practitioners can purify their minds in this manner until they remove all fetters entirely. This is the most efficient meditation seeing and feeling as well as learning from the scriptures. Pursuing the Noble Eightfold Path via this vipassana practice while maintaining Right Concentration at all times develops higher and higher levels of Right Wisdom from mundane to supra-mundane levels. Right Concentration of mind is easily achieved by the Vijja Dhammakaya approach because it starts with concentration on a device or object such as the light object (alokakasia). The Vijja Dhammakaya approach also includes mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati) and recollection of Lord Buddha's virtues (buddhanussati). These are helpful for calming the mind and concentrating the mind at one-pointedness. Thus, Vijja Dhammakaya provides an efficient and effective method for both concentrating the mind and contemplation to develop Right Wisdom. This is what I have learned both from my own experience and that of my colleagues. The Path may be difficult; for some, very difficult, because the Dhammakaya sphere is not attained easily. But, for sure, this is the most efficient way to concentrate your mind, especially for those who can develop into Dhammakaya. To develop Right Concentration, we must be sure of the way. We must develop meditation to the first state of absorption (pathama-jhana). People who cannot reach this level cannot cut the fetters. They don't have sufficient attainment of the Noble Path which includes Right Concentration of mind. Any method that helps to develop jhana or absorption levels is good. The fetters must be cut before complete removal is possible. natthi jhanam apannassa, natthi panna ajhayino, yamhi jhananca

panna ca, sa ve nibbana santike Without absorption there is no wisdom, Without wisdom there is no absorption, and He who has both absorption and wisdom is near to nibbana. In order to remove ignorance, which is the root cause of suffering, one needs to understand what ignorance is. Ignorance is lack of knowledge of the past and future, lack of knowledge of the Noble Path, and lack of knowledge of Dependent Origination. Because of this ignorance, one has cravings and attachments and commits bad conduct or akusala kamma that brings unfortunate results, leading to rebirth in the suffering world. Meditation at the supramundane level can help develop Seven Enlightenment Factors: mindfulness, analysis of phenomena (dhamma), energy, joy, tranquility, concentration of mind, and equanimity. The Seven Enlightenment Factors develop automatically along the Noble Eightfold Path. Through the Vijja Dhammakaya approach, the Seven Enlightenment Factors can be developed more easily. This does not mean that I am already Enlightened; I am studying too. I have learned this from my own experience, from Luang Phor Wat Paknam, and a little bit from others, as well as from the Pali Scriptures. By the Vijja Dhammakaya approach, one can develop supernormal recollection of past existences and see the future, especially cause and effect or the Natural Law of Kamma. This practice enables one to understand clearly the characteristics of compounds as well as the characteristics of the non-compound, which you rarely hear about elsewhere. Your understanding will become deeper and deeper, with higher and higher Right Wisdom. This can efficiently remove ignorance. Anyone who can cut at least the first three fetters will become a Noble One. They are wrong views about compounds (sakkayaditthi), doubt about Dhamma practice (vicikiccha), and wrong religious practices (silabbata paramasa). As a result of eradicating these three fetters, one will truly understand the real nature of all compounds and hence not be bewildered by them. The Practitioner will attain full confidence about the Path that leads to Emancipation (nibbana) and will no longer cling to mere rule and rituals (including superstitions and wrong practices for attaining nibbana). When these three fetters are removed, one becomes a Noble One of the first stage (sotapanna). The Vijja Dhammakaya approach provides very high levels of understanding, especially about the non-compound (nibbana). The approach appears in the scriptures, but is often overlooked. When you practice according to the Vijja Dhammakaya approach, you will come to understand that the words sabbe dhamma anatta or all compounds (conditioned phenomena) are non-self, do not include the non-compound (unconditioned phenomena) like nibbana. Others may say that they do include the non-compound or nibbana. In fact, this is not true. We will now examine relevant references from the scriptures. You will see that nibbana is non-compound in nature both according to the scriptures and according to verification by meditation, especially via the Vijja Dhammakaya approach.



It is not easy to attain the finer states of life, but it is also not so difficult as to be impossible. It
requires peace of mind. Never become emotional or get agitated about anything. That is counter to good concentration of mind. You have to be cool and peaceful. Something good like Dhamma is high level. It always appears with the peaceful person, situation, and mind, never with an unpeaceful mind. The good things, the best things in life, will always come to the peaceful-minded person. If you cannot understand this, just let it pass for the moment. Listen to the rest of the instructions and do what you can.

The Meditation Posture Please sit in a regular meditation posture, cross-legged as seen in some images of the Buddha, with the right leg resting upon the left. The right hand rests on the left, palms turned upwards, right index finger just touching the left thumb. The body is upright and the mind fully alert. Take a deep breath and relax the body until you feel comfortable. Close your eyelids lightly, do not press them.

The Object of Visualization (parikamma-nimitta) In basic samatha vipassana practice, two aids are used: The repetitive word (parikamma-bhavana) The object of visualization (parikamma-nimitta) The repetitive word is "samma arahang" and the object of visualization is a bright, clear, luminous sphere (Figure 4). Using these aids, we shall draw the mind inward along the path to the center of the body (Figure 5). Such concentration allows the mind components of vision, memory, thought and awareness to come together into oneness or ekaggataramana.

Diagram Showing The Seven Positions of The Sphere On The Path To The Center of The Body

Position 1: The Nostril Aperture

Concentrate with your mind and visualize until there exists a vision of a bright and clear sphere. Let the sphere appear at your nostril, for ladies at the left nostril and for gentlemen at the right nostril. Fix your attention and rest your mind at the center of the sphere. This is a very bright and clear spot, the size of a grain of sand or needle point. Repeat the words "samma arahang" mentally three times to sustain the bright and clear sphere at the nostril. This is the first position at which your mind is focused.

Position 2: The Eye Socket

Next, mentally move the bright, clear sphere slowly up to rest at the eye socket - ladies to your left eye socket and gentlemen to your right eye socket. While you are slowly moving the sphere with your mind, fix Figure 5 The Path to the Center of the sphere. As the sphere rests at your eye socket, repeat mentally the words "samma arahang" three times. This is the second position.

Position 3: The Center of the Head

Mentally shift the sphere slowly to rest at the center of your head in line with the eyes. Keep the mind constantly fixed at the bright center of the luminous sphere. Repeat to yourself the word "samma arahang" three times to keep the sphere as bright and clear as you can, so that it shines and remains in that position. This is the third position.

Position 4: The Palate Terminus

Roll your eyeballs upward without lifting your head, so that your vision will turn back and inside. Meanwhile, mentally move the luminous and transparent sphere slowly and directly downward toward the palate. Recite to yourself the word "samma arahang" three times, to make the sphere even brighter and clearer, and hold it there. This is the fourth position.

Position 5: The Throat Aperture

Mentally move the bright, clear sphere slowly and directly downward to rest at the throat aperture. Repeat the words "samma arahang" to yourself three times, to keep the sphere bright and clear and hold it steady. This is the fifth position.

Position 6: Center of the Body

Next, slowly move the clear, luminous sphere directly downward, while keeping your attention focused on the bright nucleus at its center. Bring the sphere to rest at the center of the body, where the breath ends, even with the navel. This is the sixth position. Mentally recite the words "samma arahang" three times to keep the transparent sphere bright and luminous, and to hold it steady.

Position 7: Position of Sphere

Now, shift the sphere directly upward about two finger-widths above the navel. This is the center of the body and the seventh position. This is the mind's permanent resting-place. Whenever a person or any other creature is born, dies, sleeps or wakens, the Dhamma Sphere which governs the body arises from this position. The Dhamma Sphere is composed of the Vision Sphere, the Memory Sphere, the Thought Sphere, and the Awareness Sphere. During meditation, the Dhamma Sphere appears to float from the sixth position up to the seventh position. The seventh position is also considered to be the center of the body. Keep the bright, clear sphere resting at the center of the body in the seventh position. Mentally recite the words "samma arahang" continuously to keep the sphere still and make it become brighter and clearer. Concentrate so that the sphere shines continuously. Focus your mind at the bright center of the sphere, and at the bright center of each successive sphere that emerges. Pay no attention to any external sensation. Let your mind delve deeper and deeper into the successive centers as you recite "samma arahang", the parikamma-bhavana. Even if ants are climbing all over you or mosquitoes are flying all around, pay no heed. Don't even pay attention to following the breath. Bring your mind to rest at the center of the center, by envisioning a bright sphere. Your mind should rest steadily and continuously at the center of the sphere. Do not force the mind too strongly. Over exerting the mind will cause a shift in your meditation and the mind will not be able to see. Do not use your physical eyes to focus on the vision. The practice is only for your mind. Gently train your mind to see a bright, clear, steady sphere. Mentally observe and focus on the bright clear center. Concentrate on the center of each consecutive sphere that emerges from the preceding one. Do not wander to the left, right, front, rear, top or bottom. Always focus on the center of each new sphere that emerges from the bright shining center. Rest the mind there. As the mind components of vision, memory, thought and awareness are drawn into oneness, they come to rest at the same center of the body. The meditator will notice a gradual decrease in response to external sensations. With proper concentration, the mind will then fall back to the sixth position. Then, a bright, clear sphere will emerge at the seventh position. The sphere may be the size of an egg yolk. Smaller ones may look like a star in the sky. Large spheres may be as big as the sun or the moon. This is the sphere of pahama-magga, the preliminary sign of concentration. It is the first step towards the path (magga), fruit (phala), and nibbana. This is also known as the Dhamma Sphere, which makes the human body possible. When this luminous and clear sphere appears, do not be overjoyed or over-react. If you do, the concentration (samadhi) could loosen and the sphere might disappear. Keep your mind evenly calm in equanimity (upekkha). Hold the mind still, without repeating the parikamma-bhavana ("samma arahang"). Once the sphere of pathama-magga is perceived, there is no need to continue this mental recitation.

Concentrate the mind at the small, luminous, clear center of the pathama-magga sphere. Five smaller spheres will appear within this sphere. One is concentric at the center. The others are in front, at the right, left, and behind, respectively (Figure 6). These small spheres are the refined centers of the basic elements. In front is the water element, controlling fluids in bodily functions. To the right is the earth element, controlling solid parts. To the back lies the fire element dealing with the body's temperature and heat. To the left is the wind element, controlling internal movements of gases. At the center is the space element, controlling the various gaps within the body. In the center of the space element is the cognitive element or vinnanadhatu that controls consciousness. Four thin bright, clear lines connect each of the circumferential spheres to the central sphere. The pathama-magga sphere will appear as reflecting the physical, verbal and mental purification of the meditator. When the mind is at rest, concentrated at the seventh position, it allows all six refined elements to come into unison at this seventh position, the center, where the original dhatudhamma was generated. Once this pathama-magga sphere can be observed, concentrate further at the center of the clear, luminous sphere. When the mind is still and in the right mode, the center will expand, giving rise in its place to a new, more luminous, clear and refined sphere of moral conduct (sila). Through this sphere, we can refine physical, verbal and mental deeds more efficiently and on a deeper level than through common morality. This is the pure sila of kammahana and can be regarded as adhisila or higher (purer) morality. When the mind can remain permanently in the center of this Sila Sphere, the physical, verbal and mental activities and their intentions will always be clean and pure. Higher morality (adhisila) goes together with higher mind (adhicitta), higher wisdom (adhipanya), emancipation (vimutti), and insight (vimutti-nanadassana) or the vision of truth from emancipation. As the mind stays at rest, still and concentrated further into the center of the sphere of sila, and in the right mode, the center of the sphere will keep on expanding and in its place will appear a new, more luminous, clear and refined sphere of samadhi. This further refines physical, verbal and mental activities. When the mind rests still and deep in samadhi at this stage, it will destroy the Five Hindrances to the attainment of goodness: lust, malice, anxiety, sloth and doubt about practice. This is the commencement of the first state of absorption (pathama-jhana). The mind is now gentle enough for insight practice (vipassana) to develop the wisdom (panya) to know correctly and clearly the Truth of Dhamma. Hence, it is called the adhicitta or higher mind. Concentrate further and rest still at the center of the center of the Sphere of Samadhi. With the mind at rest, still, and in the right mode, the previous center will expand and a new, more luminous, clear Sphere of Panya will appear in its place.

Figure 7a: Manussakaya { Crude Human Body }

Figure 7b: Panita Manussakaya { Refined Human Body }

Figure 7c: Dibbakaya { Crude Celestial Body}

Figure 7d: Panita Dibbakaya { Refined Celestial Body }

Figure 7e: Rupabrahmakaya { Crude Form Brahman Body }

Figure 7f: Panita Rupabrahmakaya { Refined Form Brahman Body }

Figure 7g: Arupabrahmakaya { Crude Formless Brahman Body }

Figure 7h: Panita Arupabrahmakaya { Refined Formless Brahman Body }

Similarly, with the mind resting still, concentrated at the center of the Panya Sphere, the Sphere of Vimutti (emancipation) emerges. Let the mind adhere to the center of the Vimutti Sphere, keeping it always luminous and clear. This will destroy the crude desires belonging to human beings such as greed, vengeance and wrong point-of-view. Hold your mind at rest in the center of the center of the Vimutti Sphere. When the mind is in the right mode, the Sphere of Vimutti-Nanadassana will appear.

Concentrate the mind further, resting still at the center of the center of the Vimutti-Nanadassana Sphere. With the right mode of mind, the center will expand and a Refined Human Form or Panita-Manussakaya will emerge from this center (Figure 7b). The Refined Human Form appears identical to the meditator, but is finer than the ordinary form. It sits in the regular meditation posture, facing the same direction as the meditator. In some cases, a clear crystal Buddha appears with a crown of budding lotus. The Buddha is beautiful, pure, and perfect. This is Dhammakaya.

Dhammakaya-Gotrabhu Whatever refined form (panita-kaya) is observed, concentrates with your entire mind to assume or become such a form (kaya). As the centers of all kayas are concentric, the mind is now right at the center of the new kaya. Concentrate until both the sphere and the kaya are bright and clear. The mind now rests still at the center of the nucleus of the new sphere, so that it is all bright and clear. As new spheres are observed, proceed in the same manner as before through the new spheres of sila, samadhi, panya, vimutti, and vimutti-nanadassana. The mind now rests still at the center of the small bright nucleus of the sphere of vimuttinanadassana. Then the nucleus will expand and a new refined form (panita-kaya) will be observed. Dibbakaya arises (Figure 7c). When the refined body, panita-dibbakaya (Figure 7d) arises, detach all your feeling from the present body to assume or become the newly refined one. Concentrate all your attention at the center until the spheres of dhamma, sila, samadhi, panya, vimutti, and vimutti-nanadassana are observed successively.

Continue to repeat the same procedure for further mental purification through subsequent spheres and kaya. Whenever there rises a more refined body, detach your feeling from the present body and assume or become the new refined one. Concentrate your attention at the center until the spheres of dhamma, sila, samadhi, panya, vimutti, and vimutti-nanadassana are observed. The rupabrahmakaya (Figure 7e) appears next, then panita-rupabrahmakaya (Figure 7f). Next comes

arupabrahmakaya (Figure 7g), followed by panita-arupabrahmakaya (Figure 7h). Finally, Dhammakaya-Gotrabhu (i.e., wisdom through which a Noble State is developed) is attained and seen (Figure 8). The lapwidth, height and sphere diameter is each nine meters (10 yards). Dhammakaya appear like diamond Buddha statues, crowned with a budding lotus. They are luminous, radiant and as clear as a pure, perfect, first-rate diamond. As you continue to concentrate at the center of the center, more and more refined, purer and purer, larger and larger Dhammakaya will be observed. Follow the same procedure described for previous kaya, concentrating through successive spheres until the next body appears. The path towards ultimate release is summarized in Figure 9. The following Dhammakaya will be attained: Dhammakaya Gotrabhu (Noble-state Wisdom) and then a Refined Dhammakaya Gotrabhu whose lap-width, height and sphere diameter are all nine meters or more. Dhammakaya Sota (Stream-winner) and then a Refined Dhammakaya Sota whose lapwidth, height and sphere diameter are ten meters or more. Dhammakaya Sakadagami (Once-returner) and then a Refined Dhammakaya Sakadagami whose lap-width, height and sphere diameter are twenty meters or more. Dhammakaya Anagami (Non-returner) and then a Refined Dhammakaya Anagami whose lap-width, height and sphere diameter measure up to thirty meters or more. Dhammakaya Arahatta (Perfect One) and then a Refined Dhammakaya Arahatta whose lap-width, height and sphere diameter extend up to forty meters or more. With your entire mind, become the more and more refined Dhammakaya Arahatta. Rest your mind and keep it still, right at the center of the sphere of the most refined Dhammakaya Arahatta that you can attain. Hold steady until you reach ayatana nibbana, the place or sphere where the most refined Dhammakaya Arahatta can exist in the highest perfection. This is where the arahantas and Lord Buddhas whose Five Aggregates or khandhas have passed away exist forever. It is also called anupadisesa-nibbana or nibbana without residue. One who has attained Dhammakaya has developed mindful contemplation of physical body, feelings, mental functions and phenomena (dhamma). He or she can cut at least three fetters (sa yojana): the wrong view of perceiving a "self" in the Five Khandhas (sakkayaditthi), uncertainty (vicikiccha), and useless or wrong ritual practices and vows (silabbata paramasa). This meditator can then become a Noble One.

A Meditation Session
The following transcript of a session with exper-ienced meditators indicates how samathavipassana meditation can be used for contemplation of the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. Before we start meditating, let us make a wish that all our spiritual resources accumulated from the past up to the present will help us in our concentration of our minds and aid us to attain the Path (magga) and the Fruit (phala) at this moment.

The ten spiritual perfections are:

The Perfection of... Dana Parami charity, giving, generosity. Sila Parami morality, good conduct. Nekkhamma Parami renunciation. Panya Parami wisdom, insight, understanding. Viriya Parami endeavor, energy, effort. Khanti Parami endurance, tolerance, forbearance. Sacca Parami truthfulness. Adhitthana Parami resolution, self-determination. Metta Parami loving-kindness, friendliness. Upekkha Parami equanimity.

May all our accumulated perfections, together with the virtues of our parents, teachers, preceptors, and the Triple Gem, help us to be mindful and remove the five hindrances, attain Dhamma and reach the enlightened Dhammakaya. When making this request, our mind will be happy and delighted by all the good meritorious deeds we have done in the past up to the present. And now let us start meditation. Focus your attention to the center of the sphere at the center of the body. Whenever the real nucleus appears, rest your mind gently at its center until the center expands itself. Then fix your attention at the center of the newly refined sphere and when the four components of your mind are perfectly concentrated, the center will expand itself and another brighter and more refined sphere will appear. Go on with this procedure until your refined human body appears. It will be sitting in the same position as the crude body. Now focus all your attention at the center of the refined human body and forget completely about the crude one. When the body and sphere are more refined, you may observe that there will appear a rounded seat under the refined human body. Just acknowledge it, don't do anything. When your mind is perfectly concentrated at the center of the refined human body, the center will expand itself. Larger and larger bodies, more and more refined, will appear accordingly. Following the Refined Human Body you will see and become the Celestial Body, then the Refined Celestial Body, about double the size of the Refined Human Body. Then the Brahman Body and the Refined Brahman Body, about double the size of the Celestial Body. Followed by the Formless Brahman Body and the refined Formless Brahman Body, which again will be double the size of the Brahman Body. When you stop still at the center of the refined formless Brahman body, the center will expand itself and Dhammakaya will appear. The standard size of the Dhammakaya is about nine meters in width and height, and it looks like a very brilliant and refined Buddha image. Now stop still at the center of the Dhammakaya and there will appear larger and larger, more refined and purer Dhammakayas. Each time, become that newly refined Dhammakaya and let your mind rest at its center. Go on purifying yourself and be mindful at the center of the purest body and mind. (10-15 minutes of silence) Stop still at the center of the sphere at the center of the Crude Human Body (pathamamagga). You may observe that at the center of the dhamma-sphere, at the center of the human body, there will exist a Sphere of Suffering, and at its center you will see the Sphere of Rebirth. It will be

bright, pure and transparent. We received this sphere when we were born. At the center of the Birth-Sphere you will find the Sphere of Old Age. It looks black. The size depends upon your age. The older you are the bigger the sphere. At the center of the Old-AgeSphere a sick person will have a sphere as black as charcoal called the Sphere of Sickness. At the center of that sphere, a very black and brilliant sphere will appear. This is the Sphere of Death. It will appear at the moment a sick person is destined to die. (The explanation in this paragraph was given after the meditation session.) When a person dies, all the external bodies starting with the refined human body will detach from the center of the crude body and seek rebirth right away. For example, if a sphere leaves with a human being's Dhamma (merit) level, that being will be reborn in the human world. The sphere of that person will then appear at the center of the future father. Within seven days, when the future parents have intercourse and the three spheres are close together both physically and mentally, the sphere of the child-to-be will leave the father, following a specific path up through the father's body. If it is a male, the sphere will leave the father through his right nostril. It will then enter the mother through her right nostril and finally rest at the center of her womb. If it is female, the path will be through the left nostrils of both parents. At the center of the Sphere of Suffering there will exist a Sphere of Cause of Suffering which is comprised of three black spheres. The first is the Sphere of Sensual Feeling or Passion, the second is the Sphere of the Desire to Become and the third is the Sphere of Desire Not to Become. These three spheres of cravings are situated at the center of the center of each other. When you stop still at the very center of the Sphere of Cause of Suffering, the center will expand itself and the Sphere of Extinction of Suffering will appear, very bright and refined. The size will be about a foot in diameter, possibly even larger. At the center of this sphere you will find the Sphere of Magga, comprised of the Sphere of Sila (morality), the Sphere of Samadhi (concentration), and the Sphere of Panya (wisdom). When concentrating at the center of the Sphere of Sila, three more refined spheres are encountered, namely, the Spheres of Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood. Also, the second main sphere, the Sphere of Samatha, is comprised of three brighter spheres that are the Sphere of Right Effort, the Sphere of Right Mindfulness, and the Sphere of Right Concentration. The last of the three main spheres, the Sphere of Panya, contains two spheres, namely the spheres of Right Thought and Right Intention. Eight spheres all together, each at the center of the center of one another. They are called the spheres of the Noble Eightfold Path. The spheres of the Four Noble Truths exist at the center of all worldly bodies from the crude body till the refined Formless Brahman Body. One should contemplate either external or internal (crude or refined) dhamma (i.e. the Four Noble Truths of all the crude and refined bodies (Human Body, Celestial body, Brahman Body and Formless Brahman Body).

Of course, the Dhammakaya doesn't have a Sphere of Suffering or Sphere of Cause of Suffering. It has only the Sphere of Nirodha (Extinction of Suffering) and the Sphere of Magga, of which the diameter will be equal to the height and width of the Dhammakaya. Whenever the concentration of mind is perfect enough, at least up to the first level of jhana, the Right Wisdom is present, the perfect Noble Eightfold Path can remove at least three fetters or bondages (bindings to existence). These three so-called lower fetters are: False view of compound things, attachments to aggregates. Doubt in Buddhist practice. Adherence to rules and rituals, or malpractice. When these three bindings have been removed, the body of the Sota Dhammakaya will appear and be followed by more and more refined Dhammakayas. There will then be nanadassana, Enlightened Vision. You will then become a noble person. So, whenever you are purifying yourself by stopping still at the center of the center, you are getting more and more mindful and thus able to purify your mind and all elements from any kind of passion, from the crude up to the subtle defilements, until you reach and become Dhammakaya Gotrabhu and Noble Dhammakaya according to your attainment level. (10-15 minutes of silence) Let your mind stop still at the center of the sphere at the center of your body, and then let us make a wish before completing this meditation session. Let us request Lord Buddha to bless all of us to live a happy and prosperous life without problems and suffering. Let's extend our lovingkindness and share our merit accumulated from the past up to the present with all world beings. Nibbana paccayo hotu May these be the means whereby Nibbana is ultimately attained.

For meditation, sit cross-legged and make your mind peaceful and fully alert, closing the eyes lightly. We use two aids: the repetitive word "samma arahang" and the object of visualization, the light sphere. Beginning meditators should visualize a sphere at the nostril and bring it through the seven positions to the center of the body, repeating "samma arahang" to keep it bright and clear


This chapter summarizes conversations which serve to clarify Dhammakaya practice. It consists
of five parts: Questions posed in Malaysia following the original lectures. An interview of Phra Ajahn Maha Sermchai by a practicing meditator. Questions posed by a foreign monk. A foreign monk's experience. Phra Ajahn Maha Sermchai Jayamanggalo and Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram.

Questions Posed in Malaysia

The following questions were posed to the Venerable Phra Ajahn Maha Sermchai by those who
attended the three-day series of Dhamma talks at the Buddhist Vihara, Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Q1. Where is the center part of the body? A1. The way to locate the center part of your body is to imagine two transparent strings or lines. One line passes from the front to the back, about an inch above the navel level. Visualize that line. The second line passes from the middle of the right side to the left. Now you can see the intersection of the two lines. That is the center of your body, about two finger-breadths or an inch above the navel level. Q2. Do you see the bright sphere up here, near the eyes, or down here, at the center of your body? A2. It should be at the center of your body. This is the most proper place. I know that many people may see the bright sphere on the forehead or outside. Try to bring it in to the center of your body. The technique for bringing your mind in is to roll your eyes upwards a little bit while closing your eyelids. This helps the mind components which are wandering outside to go backwards and vertically downwards, coming to rest at the center of your body. Try it. Roll your eyes upwards and imagine the center of your body, then the bright sphere will appear there.

Q3.Could you please tell that gentleman not to take photographs during the meditation session. The flashes distract my concentration. A3. That can be a problem, but you must learn through experience to separate your mind from the outside environment. Even if the fan goes tick, tick... or you meet other disturbances, don't worry about them. Don't pay any attention to them. When you pay attention to your object of concentration and nothing else, your mind will be free and will stop still in the proper place. It is your mind that you wish to train. Try it. Q4. I did not actually see the bright sphere when I closed my eyes. But, when I was breathing in and out I was concentrating on the breath and then I could get a white light. What do you think about this? A4. That's good. This method can also incorporate anapanasati. Anapanasati is mindfulness of breathing, without following the breath. Don't follow the breath, but be mindful of it at either of several fixed points the breath passes, like at the nostril aperture, the center of the chest, or at the center of your body. If you do anapanasati properly, you will find your breathing becomes shallower and shallower, more and more refined. Eventually, it will stop still at the center of your body and you will see a very bright sphere there. This is the objective of anapanasati in the Dhammakaya approach. The mind will stop naturally, by itself. Then, you have come close to the right track. When you observe breathing, your mind will become better and better concentrated, even though your mind has not yet stopped still at the center. When your mind stops at the center of your body, you will see the light sphere there. Your mind should be still there. Try again. If you are used to anapanasati practice, just imagine a sphere at the center of your body and be mindful of it. When you breathe in and out, put your mindfulness there. Observe your breath passing through the sphere. Then, you will see the sphere getting clearer and clearer. When your mind stops still at the center of the sphere, you will find light. You will appear not to be breathing because the breath has become very shallow and refined. When your mind stops still, you will see a very bright sphere or nucleus as your object. Be mindful there.

Q5.Just now, when you said to imagine the sphere, I couldn't really see or visualize the sphere. What should I do? A5.Try more. This is the first time you are trying to train the mind which has been wandering outside ever since your were born. You require a longer time to train it to stay

at the center. Don't be over eager to see something. When a light appears, you may press your mind hard to see a sharp image of a sphere. If so, the light may disappear. Just relax. Don't pay attention to anything but the center of the object of concentration. Don't be too eager, just visualize the sphere. Stop still at the center of the center, repeating the words "samma arahang". Try to practice today before going to bed or whenever you can. You can practice in any position: walking, sitting, eyes opened or closed, it doesn't matter. Just bring your mind into the center of your body. This is very meritorious. Why? When your mind wanders outside, it will contact and attach to worldly objects you like, or feel aversion towards the objects you dislike. That will cause passion to arise in the form of craving, greed, ill will, or delusion. So, if you bring your mind inside, even for a second, it is very meritorious because the mind stops unattached to any worldly object. Thus, your mind will become purer and purer. Try to do it everyday, every time you feel free to do so, in any position and at any place. Q6. Reverend, when you see the sphere, isn't it supposed to be round? I see something which looks oblong. A6. Yes, it may be so, but do not be bothered at all. If you stop still at the center (a very transparent spot), you see Dhamma. The Dhamma sphere enlarges from that spot and becomes a sphere anyway. Q7. You said to imagine the center of the sphere at the nose aperture, then the eye socket, then the center of the head. Why those positions? A7. Luang Phor Wat Paknam, who originally taught the Dhammakaya approach during his time, discovered that the mind of a person functions in this way when he or she is about to die, to fall asleep, to wake up, or to be reborn. The old mind at the center of the Dhamma sphere in the seventh position will drop to the sixth position, in line with the navel. Then, the new mind of the new body (which depends on kamma) will rest at the seventh position. That is why we call the center of the body the permanent place of the mind. When exiting, the mind drops to the sixth place, then fifth, fourth, third, second, and first. Then, out it goes. Similarly, the mind enters by the same path. So, for the first meditation session, we are instructed by Luang Phor Wat Paknam to teach all students to know the path along which the minds gets in and out. This occurs when a person dies, is reborn, falls asleep, or awakens, or even during other activities not mentioned here. This initial technique is for you to know how the mind gets in and out. Afterwards, for subsequent meditation sessions, we will advise you to immediately concentrate at the center of the body. Why? Within the physical body, more and more refined bodies exist along with Dhamma and mind. As you know, the mind components are feelings (vedana), perception (sanna), formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vinnana). These elements develop to be the four mind components: the Sphere of Vision, the Sphere of Memory, the Sphere of Thought, and the Sphere of Awareness. All these are naturally positioned at the center of the body. Here, at the center of the body is where you can contemplate the four Foundations of

Mindfulness or satipatthanas. These satipatthanas were cited by the Buddha as "the only way" to enlightenment, regardless of which approach you take. In satipatthana practice, one is mindful of and contemplates external and internal physical bodies, feelings, mental functions, and phenomena (dhamma). This is done most efficiently at the center of the body, through the Vijja Dhammakaya approach. This is because all the more and more refined bodies, minds and phenomena (dhamma) inside us are located at the center of each other. When you stop still, your mind becomes purer and purer. You can reach more and more refined Dhamma and purer and purer minds and bodies until you reach the purest, Dhammakaya. Dhammakaya is the purest state of mind and has different characteristics from sakhara or compound nature. Moreover, as your mind becomes purer and purer by stopping still at the center of the center of purer and purer Dhamma, mind and bodies, what happens? Nothing outside can disturb you. Chapter VI : QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Questions Posed by a Foreign Monk

Q1. Is Gruat Nam (pouring water) a 100% Buddhist ritual? A1. No, it was originally Brahmana. Whenever they offer something to another person they poured water as a symbol of separating from the thing given. This meant they gave without conditions. When the ritual was adopted by Buddhism, the meaning changed. Here it is used to transfer merit collected from the past up to the present to other people, especially to the deceased. We recite Pali words, but you are welcome to wish whatever you want. I would like to add that we should not only transfer our merits to our deceased relatives but also to everyone else, because, don't forget that we have been born countless times already, so nearly all world beings are our relatives. I am sure you came to this temple because once you were either my relative or my close student. So, when transferring merit, do it to close relatives first, then to all world beings.

Q2. But, if we go on giving merit away each time we gain some, would it not mean that we would end up having none left for our own use? A2. Oh no, you see merit is like a light or a candle. Imagine yourself with a candle in your hand and see the light shining all around you. Transferring merit means that you invite everyone to come and appreciate your light and to receive it from you. In other words, they will come with their candles to light from yours. Like that, you can see, your candle never gets weaker, but in fact brighter. Why? Because the light from the candles of all the people you have invited will reflect back on you. Q3. When I am meditating, my attention seems to be concentrated mostly on all the arising spheres and bodies. When will I have the possibility to contemplate and when can I develop that all important wisdom? A3. Any time the mind is free from hindrances, you can go on contemplating. For example, when you see the sphere clearly, you can enlarge it at will, which would then mean that your Sphere of Vision, Sphere of Memory, Sphere of Thoughts, and Sphere of Awareness would be larger too. Just go on until it is about the size of your whole body. In that state, supernatural vision will be developed, enabling you to observe all angles of your body simultaneously. In other words, you do not have to move your vision from place to place to see at all. You can now contemplate on every organ of your body until you fully realize that not one single part is attractive, but all organs are in fact impure. This is also a very effective way to calm down your mind from sexual desire. I will give you an example. When I was still a layman I took a commuter pickup bus (song taew) home. I was lucky to get a seat, but as the bus filled there was standing room only and people stood very close. A young lady stood right in front of me, facing me, and her bosom was at times touching my face as the bus swayed. I was concentrated all the time, and in my mind I intended to see what she looked like. During the ride I saw every part of her body that I wished to see, and I then realized that it was in fact very dirty. She had her period and a rather unpleasant odor hit my mind at that point. So, that was contemplation of the human body (kayagata sati), and I have used that technique ever since, both on my own body and those of others. It also helped me in staying away from my spouse for ten years prior to my ordination as a monk. When you get a sexual feeling, be mindful right away. Use your wisdom, and start contemplating as soon as you get rid of the hindrances. Purify yourself from the crude mind up to more and more refined minds. When you reach the purest, the most calm, contemplate! You will calm down any sexual desire by seeing the reality of all organs. Be mindful all the time! Q4. Would I ever be able to look into the future during meditation? A4. Whenever you see the sphere and concentrate at the center of the center, you will see

a small space, about the size of the hole of a needle or even smaller, depending on your level of concentration. The higher the level, the smaller the space. At the center of that space there exists an extremely thin thread or string -- very thin indeed and transparent. It leads from your birth into the future. Stop still at the center so that your mind becomes neutral. Don't create any pictures, be neutral and make it your intention to follow the course of the string. When the center expands itself you will see your own life during the coming five to ten years. Become that older body and go to the center of the center and you can go on advancing your age until you see your own dead body. I am sure that anyone who has a pure and neutral mind or Dhammakaya will know when they are going to die and how. When seeing the dead body of themselves, they can use the experience for recollection of death (marananusati). Even though we know the exact day we are going to die and in which position, we still do not get attached to it. In our wisdom we see our body and mind (five aggregates) as impermanent, suffering, and non-self. As long as you have cravings you will have that string. In other words, strings exist within the four world bodies (Human, celestial, Brahman and Formless Brahman). But, the Dhammakaya doesn't have any string.{? I will, however, advise you that when you reach this level you should not talk to anyone about it. That would be violating Lord Buddha's disciplinaries. A monk only does it for the wisdom involved. I would also like to emphasize that as long as we are not saints or arahants these things we are seeing are, of course, impermanent. So, doing this kind of contemplation requires mindfulness at all times. Q5. What about looking back into previous lives? A5. Focus your attention at the center of the crude human body's sphere. Make your mind neutral and observe again that very small space where the thin transparent sting will appear. You then make it your intention to see your own life in the past, let us say ten years back in time. Stop still at the center of the center until your mind is perfectly concentrated. Then the center will expand itself and you will see yourself when you were ten years younger. Then concentrate your mind and let it stand still at the center of that body and keep on going further and further back in time until you see yourself at birth. You can then go even further back to when you were in your mother's womb. Now go to the center of the baby and aim to see your life previous to this one. When you see it, observe where you are and who you are, generation after generation, further and further back in time. Whenever you see these past lives you may contemplate on all the five aggregates of compound matter. Living compound things are subject to change according to the factors of good deeds (caused by merit) or bad deeds (caused by passion or craving). This will cause a person to be reborn in either a happy or a suffering world. Anyone who is attached to these compound things with craving and illusion, bad speech, bad action, and bad thoughts, will be reborn in a suffering world. Living a meritorious life of good deeds will lead to bliss and happiness in the next existence. The effect of suffering and happiness

might even be experienced in the present lifetime. You will finally realize that each life you observe is in fact non-self and no permanent refuge to anyone. Then, contemplate the three characteristics of all compound things, before making it your intention to return to the present. Purify yourself by standing still at the center of the more and more refined bodies, by now probably even brighter and purer than before, until you reach the purest Dhammakaya. This will result in detachment from all aggregates. You should have a neutral mind free from any feelings, happy or unhappy, to obtain a peaceful mind of high absorption. The purest Dhammakaya will then appear in Nibbana (the Supramundane plane) where Enlightened Dhammakaya of Lord Buddha and Saints whose five aggregates have passed away will exist. You will see Lord Buddha (the enlightened Dhammakaya) sitting on his throne with his enlightened disciples gathered around him in a half circle. But not only that, you will also see the countless Buddhas of the past, both the Subbanyu Buddhas (surrounded by disciples) and the Pacceka Buddhas (sitting alone).


A Foreign Monk's Experience

I became a novice by full-moon and ordained as a monk by new moon, both days being Buddhist holidays (wan phra). The day before the full moon is "head-shaving day" and on the days of both full and new moon (Uposatha day) the community of monks will assemble in the consecrated hall and listen to a pali recital of the Disciplinary Code, a monk's 227 fundamental rules.

The Disciplinary Code

The disciplinary code is basically a lesson in development of mindfulness. That is its main purpose. Some people might be astounded by so many precepts, but these are only the main ones. On top of that there are over a hundred additional rules. As a foreigner I had to learn an additional couple of hundred unwritten rules which are natural to a Thai but new and strange to a foreigner. For instance the various levels of the wai and when to use it, the difference in language spoken to monks and lay people, the rule of sitting while drinking, and never sniffing a flower to mention just a few.

The first four rules are the most important, since transgression would mean a permanent loss of one's status as a bhikkhu (monk). The four things to abstain from are: Indulgence in sexual intercourse. Taking something which the owner hasn't yet given as a present. Deliberately killing a human being or causing him or her to die. Untruthfully boasting of having attained Superior Insight or possessing supernatural powers.

What is Buddhism?
The ultimate goal of a Buddhist is to reach Nibbana (literally extinction or freedom from desire and thus from suffering). Effectively it is an end not only to dukkha (suffering) and kamma (action) but also to the cycle of rebirths. This permanent, causeless, effectless and non-compound state can be reached through mental and moral self-purification while a person is still alive, thus making his physical death the last one (parinibbana). However, most Thais seem to aim for rebirth in a "better" existence rather than intending to reach Nibbana, feeling they are somehow not yet worthy of it. By making merit feeding monks, giving donations, taking part in ceremonies and by meditating they move towards fulfillment of the factors of perfection. To reach Nibbana one has to fully comprehend and absorb the Four Noble Truths (Cattari AriyaSaccani). There is unsatisfactoriness (or suffering) The arising of suffering The cessation of suffering The way leading to the cessation of suffering. For better understanding they can also be viewed as: Diagnosis of an illness Prognosis Recovery The medicine to cure the illness. Lord Buddha realized that all forms of existence are subject to suffering. Maybe a better word would be unsatisfactoriness or dis-ease or imperfection or even conflict (the conflict between our desires and the facts of life). These are things like sickness, old age, death, fear, tiredness, irritation, frustration, association with unpleasant people and conditions, separation from pleasant

people and conditions, not having one's desires fulfilled, and losing people and things near and dear to one. At first glance, it might seem a rather pessimistic outlook, but in fact it is just being realistic. Something is always bound to happen at some point, changing happiness to sorrow and satisfaction to disappointment. If we desire something and can't get it, we suffer. If on the other hand we manage to get it, it won't mean eternal bliss, because after some time we may get bored and desire something else, hoping it might be better. So, the arising of unsatisfactoriness is due to man's constant craving or desire for sensual pleasure and existence. We tend to forget that we received our senses in order to protect our lives and avoid certain dangers. We use them instead to merely fulfill our desires. But, don't despair. The Buddha assures us that there is a way out. A way to eliminate the cause of suffering. Namely, by following the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya Attangika Magga). In some ways it is misleading to call it a path. Because there is no "I" or "Self" found in Buddhism, there is no "walker" for the path. For that reason, Zen Buddhism sometimes refers to it as the "Gateless Gate".

The Forest Tradition

In June I went on an interesting trip to the North- eastern part of Thailand (Isaan). Issan is the place where one can still experience traditional monastic life of the "forest" tradition with monks adhering strictly to the Vinaya training rules like never touching money, sewing their own robes and dying them with a dye from the wood of the jack fruit tree. I visited a rather famous monastery near Ubon Ratchatani called the "International Forest Monastery" (Wat Pa Nanachat). It is indeed very international. The abbot is Canadian, the ViceAbbot British and the monks come from all over the world including Sweden and Denmark. The main purpose of my visit was to experience the very modest living style of a forest monk, so I tried to adhere strictly to their rules. The temple bell sounded at 3 am and at 3:30 we would all gather in the open air sala, chanting in both English and Pali, and then meditating in total darkness. The alms round was long, about seven kilometers, taking us through rice paddies and poor villages, covering at least 100 house calls. When our long line of monks would reach a village, it was often a moving sight to see most of the population kneeling in long rows along the main street, each holding the typical basket of sticky rice over the head. The kutis (monk's dwellings) have neither electricity nor running water, so one of the many daily duties was hauling water from the wells. The absence of light motivates monks to spend the evening meditating rather than reading books. That is the way the founder, the late Ajahn Chah wanted it. On holy days (wan phra) the monks and the rest of the community made the effort to stay up all night without lying down, practicing non-stop sitting and walking meditation until 5:00 am. I was

impressed to see about thirty lay people from the village joining us throughout the night. Many of them had come every week for a night's meditation ever since the temple opened eighteen years ago.

Why do We Meditate?

Meditation is not reserved for Buddhists only. It will also help people from other religions to fully comprehend the depths of their religion. It has countless benefits for people in all walks of life. First let us have a look at the mere physical benefits. Pulse and breathing slow down considerably, giving the body deep rest, beneficial for cell regeneration. The rate of metabolism decreases by 20%, blood pressure becomes lower, causing less strain on the heart and the lactate ion concentrate in the blood (high during stress) will decrease by approximately 33%. Meditation will cure migraines, some forms of paralysis, and high blood pressure. People are also known to age less quickly and even the skin texture will change. The psychological effect will furthermore help in weight reduction. The mental benefits are numerous too. A busy person gets rid of tension and a worried person will become calm and find peace. It helps in overcoming fear in the heart and increases an elderly person's joy of living. There is even strong evidence that it can help alcoholics and drug addicts in overcoming their dangerous habits. It will increase one's ability to learn and memorize and, moreover, make one a happy person both awake and asleep, not frightened of danger or even of death. On a higher level, meditation can be used to purify the mind to the level where one will reach Nibbana temporarily. The deeper stages of concentration may also be used to contemplate physical and mental objects and thereby fully absorb the real nature of all compound things (that they are subject to unsatisfactoriness, impermanent and non-self). The great masters will even develop supernatural faculties enabling them to see into both the past and future, read minds and heal illnesses. My monastery specializes in a particularly deep meditation technique called the Vijja Dhammakaya Approach. This method was forgotten for over 2,000 years until Luang Phor Sodh, the late Abbot of Wat Paknam, near Bangkok, rediscovered it under deep meditation in 1917. The current Vice-Abbot, Venerable Chao Khun Bhawana-Kosolthera, is now the only surviving disciple of Luang Phor Sodh. At the age of 74 he is rather feeble, but has assured that the technique will live on by tutoring our own Abbot, Luang Pa, Phra Ajahn Maha Sermchai Jayamanggalo.


Phra Ajahn Maha Sermchai Jayamanggalo and Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram
I am going to tell you the history of this temple, Wat Luang Phor Sodh Dhammakayaram, and also the reason why I established the temple and quit my job to become a monk. When I was still a layman, about 12 years before resigning from the U.S. Information Service in Bangkok, I brought my two daughters to Wat Paknam to study meditation. I realized already then that the Vijja Dhammakaya Approach which was taught there is very helpful in giving the practitioner the right wisdom to see and understand how things really are, rather than just reading the scriptures and listening to the teachers. My daughters started practicing and they were both soon capable of seeing both Heaven and Hell and also Nibbana. I was already interested in Dhamma at that time and had read many books by Luang Phor Bhuddadasa and other meditation masters. So, I understood the basic structure of Buddhist practice: the disciplinaries, concentration of mind, development of Right Wisdom, and samatha-vipassana meditation which enables us to see the right concept of The Four Noble Truths. I knew the theory, but when reading the many textbooks. I never came across a meditation technique which would go as deep as the technique taught by Luang Phor Wat Paknam. In terms of concentration of mind (samatha) and Right Wisdom development (vipassana) his method leads the practitioner to better and purer supernatural vision. My daughters were then 12 and 14 years old and both of them reached a rather high level of meditation, right up to Dhammakaya. At that time I was interested in knowing where my late father was reborn. Knowing how good my daughters' meditation was, their meditation master advised them to inspect and find out where my father was. I was only 20 years old when he passed away. That was one year before I became married, so my daughters never knew their grandfather. In fact, they had never seen a picture of him. After some time, both girls saw that my father had been reborn in Hell. This was because of his

drinking. My father didn't really drink a lot, just a small glass in the morning to enable him to eat more and then a glass in the evening so he could enjoy dinner. Occasionally he would invite some friends for a drink, but not to get drunk, just for good digestion. But, that happened regularly and it became a habit. According to Lord Buddha's teachings, anyone who violates the precepts of morality, in this case the 5th, will be reborn in suffering worlds, namely the worlds of Hell, the world of animals, the world of ghosts, or the world of demons. Even though my father was not a heavy drinker it still became a habit and he was attached to it. So, you see, this meditation method gives you the right information or Right Wisdom by seeing through this right and effective method of Right Concentration as taught by Luang Phor Wat Paknam. Here is another example of how a meditator can see the natural reality that a lay person cannot experience. One day two dogs, a male and a female, were having let us say "a close relationship" and the meditation master asked my daughters to check where the dogs came from, by bringing in the center of the male dog for inspection at the center of the center and thereby recalling the previous generations and past lives. When they came to the fourth generation, they saw that he had been a man, but because of bad conduct in the form of adultery he was reborn as a dog. I worked at the USIS as a research specialist at that time, so I already knew that if you get the right information by the right method you will be able to see reality. Also, the more perfect information or reliable data you get, the better the conclusion of the analysis will be. My daughters were very innocent, for they were still young. They did not study any text books, but they could meditate at a very high level. This was because their minds were still pure and unattached to external objects. With them as a reliable source of data, I now had perfect information, proving that craving leads to bad speech, bad ideas, and bad conduct such as adultery and drinking liquor. The effect of committing these sins and practicing them regularly until they become a habit, an attachment, would lead to rebirth in a suffering world.

I realized then that the Vijja Dhammakaya Medita-tion Approach taught by Luang Phor Wat Paknam is indeed very effective. It uses the best of the 40 methods taught by Lord Buddha, in this case the crystal ball (aloka kasina). It is one of the most effective ways to bring in the mind's components (the Sphere of Vision the Sphere of Memory, the Sphere of Thought, and the Sphere of Awareness) to stop still at the right point. These four natural spheres of each individual person always tend to wander outside the body, getting attached to many objects. Therefore, it can be difficult to bring them in to stop still at the proper place, which is at the center of the body where the internal body, mind and Dhamma exist.

We don't just have the crude body and mind, we also have several refined bodies, minds and Dhamma at the center of the center of each other, right up to the purest mind and body which is Dhammakaya. Lord Buddha told us that he is, or is called, Dhammakaya, the purest element beyond the five aggregates of the worldly beings. In the samatha-vipassana meditation method taught by Luang Phor Wat Paknam, the students are told to imagine a sphere of which the center is located at the center of the body. The center of the body is where our breathing in and out begins and ends, about an inch above the navel. Luang Phor Wat Paknam advised us to concentrate our mind's components at that point, where the internal body, mind and Dhamma exist at the center of each other. Imagineing the sphere means that your mind components are all in the sphere. This enables you to develop a high level of concentration up to the first jhana or absorption, removing all hindrances to Right Wisdom automatically. This is the first method according to the Vijja Dhammakaya Approach. Secondly, while imagining the center of the sphere at the center of the body, Luang Phor also advised students to recite the words "Samma Arahang" at the very center. Samma comes from Sammasambuddho meaning Right Enlightenment, Lord Buddha's Right Wisdom. Arahang means Lord Buddha's purity, being far removed from passion and bad conduct. By reciting Samma Arahang we are recalling Lord Buddha's virtues in terms of Right Wisdom and Purity. This is a samatha approach which will help us to calm down our mind to become purer and purer at the center of the body. Imagine the sphere. If it is difficult for you, you may observe that your breathing in and out will pass through the center of the sphere. This will help you to see it more clearly. Do not move your mind up and down with your breath. The mind should stop still at the center of the sphere all the time. These three methods combined are very effective: Imagining the sphere and concentrating your mind at its center; Recollecting the virtues of Lord Buddha in terms of reciting the words Samma Arahang and bringng these virtues into your mind; Observing your breath passing through the sphere. This will cover all aspects of Right Concentration of mind and can solve problems of any kind for the meditator. There is really no need to use other methods. The three methods previously mentioned are perfect.

When the practitioner's mind components are calmed down and perfectly concentrated at the center of the body, all elements of the six sense organs will automatically be there. Because of this, supernatural vision will be developed effectively, enabling the meditator to see more and

more refined things and thereby obtain better Right Wisdom. With your physical eyesight you can only see crude objects. With your supernatural vision you can see celestial bodies in Heaven and ghosts in Hell. This is what happened for my daughters in the aforementioned example. You can go further, seeing the Brahman Body and mind, the Formless Brahman Body and mind, and beyond that the Dhammakaya, which is the purest state of mind. You can then carry on developing purer and purer Dhamakayas until you reach the most refined which will appear in Nibbana. It is completely detached from the five worldly aggregates, crude or refined, detached from the whole world. In that state of mind you will have the purest and most reliable supernatural vision, namely, Buddha-Cakkhu. Buddha-Cakku will enable you to see two kinds of nature: First, compound things like the crude body and mind, celestial body and mind, the aggregates and elements and dhamma. Second, you will see the non-compound which is Nibbana. Yes, you can actually see what is going on in Nibbana. This is very important because any meditation practitioner or any Buddhist would, of course, like to reach Nibbana. Most meditation masters are only able to explain the conditions of Nibbana (that it is void of self and free of passions and cravings). That is all they can explain. I have never heard of any other method in this country or even in the world that enables you to see Nibbana. Only the Vijja Dhammakaya approach as taught by Luang Phor Wat Paknam can lead you to it. Those who can see Nibbana will clearly understand Lord Buddha's teachings on the three aspects of the non-compound in the Nibbana-Sutta I, II and III, which state that these non-compound elements exist. You will understand perfectly that, first, Nibbana is a condition void of self and free of passion or craving. Second, Nibbana is the possessor of those conditions, the enlightened Dhammakaya. (Lord Buddha and the saints are the enlightened Dhammakaya, not the five aggregates of human beings or Celestial, Brahman or Formless Brahman beings.) Third, Nibbana is also the place where the enlightened Dhammakaya exists. These three aspects of Nibbana can be understood through the method of meditation taught by Luang Phor Wat Paknam. It made me understand clearly the third Noble Truth (extinction of suffering) and the effective method of extinction of suffering, much clearer than through any other meditation method. Lord Buddha taught about three characteristics of Nibbana: Nibbana is supreme happiness, permanent and immortal (everlasting). This is the exact opposite of compound things. He said "Bhikkus, you should find a refuge or self. Let me try to explain the meaning of the words "refuge or self". Even though the human being or the aggregates are impermanent, we can still use them as a refuge to develop virtues up to the non-compound refuge which then becomes the real self. Lord Buddha only talked about the "self" twice in the scriptures. Maybe he did not want to confuse people. The word "non-self" is difficult enough to comprehend. But when one fully absorbs the meaning of that word, the understanding of "self" will appear automatically. Let me explain it like this. Everything permanent is happy. Everything never-changing exists

forever. The non-compound is in command, so to speak. It controls itself to exist forever, to be happy permanently, not to be sick, not to die, and then not to be reborn. We are then in control or command. We are "self" or our refuge. But if the compound says "I do not want to die...", it will die anyway. It is impermanent, not in control. It is non-self. But we can still use it as a sort of "temporary self" which then later will be " vimutted" (emancipated) from defilements (crude and subtle) and become the "real self". For anyone who becomes enlightered, that is Dhammakaya or Lord Buddha or a saint, when they die, only the five aggregates will die. The non-compound element, the enlightened Dhammakaya will exist forever in Nibbana. Knowing the cause of suffering is not the end. One must also know the cause of the cause. The utmost original cause of suffering and the original factor of happiness. All this can be developed through Vijja Dhammakaya meditation.

At Wat Paknam, for example, they still help to cure sickness through meditation. Because of that, many people come to support Wat Paknam. Even though Luang Phor Wat Paknam passed away many years ago, it is still one of the best temples in Thailand. Why? Because the meditation there helps people to be happy and to live good lives. Not only that, it will also help towards elimination of what I call the "un-peace" in individuals, the community, the nation, and the world. By the word "un-peace" I mean the disharmony, agitation, unrest, turmoil, conflict and commotion, etc. Luang Phor Wat Paknam always said that Thailand can withstand external enemies and serious problems because of the Buddhist religion and the Vijja Dhammakaya Meditation method. Other methods can also help, but not so effectively. So, you see, this unique method can help world peace. This, together with the other benefits mentioned earlier was why I selected Luang Phor Wat Paknam's meditation approach. In 1975 I organized the Dhammakaya Meditation for People Project at Wat Paknam. The Abbot of Wat Paknam is the president of the project. The Vice-presidents are the Vice-Abbot for Educational Affairs, Phra Thep-Suthee and the Vice Abbot for Meditation Affairs, Luang Phor Bhavana Kosol-Thera. The committee members are monks and lay people. The people active in this project have, in fact, been Luang Phor Bhavana-Kosol-Thera and myself. By broadcasting radio programs with the theory and practice over about thirty nationwide stations since 1975, I have experienced an increased interest in this meditation method throughout the country. People started to ask for meditation masters to help teaching at their temples and organizations, but we did not then have enough qualified masters at Wat Paknam. I then proposed a plan to recruit monks from all over the country to come and be trained at the temple, but found that the place was not peaceful enough for that purpose. Therefore, in 1981 I organized another

project, the Buddha Bhavana Vijja Dhammakaya Project, this time at Wat Saket. In this way I could teach more people in the center of Bangkok and also have more manpower and response for establishing a future institute. During that year, I obtained some land in Rajburi Province for establishing the proposed institute. An area of about 30 rai (13.5 acres) was donated by a well-to-do family and I then bought an additional 42 rai (19 acres) from the donor. In order to make it all more effective, we then organized a registered foundation. Professor Bunyut Suchiva, a former President of the Supreme Court, has been President of this foundation from its very beginning. This was because we needed proper legal, financial and property management as well as fund raising. The area here was at that time a rice field, but because of its dryness and salty soil, it was not good for anything. During the day it was very hot because there were only a few trees in the area. Also, being so close to the sea and rather windy, it was very cold in the cold season. We began organizing meditation sessions in 1982 and I spread the news about this among monks throughout the country. We needed to help monks to become better qualified in the theory and practice of our meditation method and to eventually become meditation masters. Also, I was concerned that this religion would not uphold its standards in terms of the behavior and practice of its monks and novices. Twice a year since then we have organized retreats from May 1-15 and December 1-15. During the May retreat, 300-400 monks and novices and approximately the same number of lay people and nuns attend the course. During the December retreat there are usually 400-600 monks and novices and a similar number of laity and nuns present. I, alone, could not do much to change the structure of the Buddhist organization and practice in this country, as I am by no means powerful, but only a small person. What I could do, however, was to establish this institute to organize meditation sessions and teach both theory and practice to the monks. Both monks and novices are trained here so they can prepare themselves in becoming future teachers and meditation masters. We do our very best as far as manpower, property and capability will allow us. Through our meditation sessions, we give monks, novices and lay people the knowledge of effective theory and practice. Through concentration of mind they will be able to develop pure supernatural vision which, in turn, will bring them right and reliable data, enabling them to develop Right Wisdom and become enlightened. My intention is to help restore Buddhist practice in our country and also abroad. Apart from training people here at the temple, we still broadcast meditation programs over about thirty radio stations and we also telecast through Channel 9 and regional channels. We recently made a program for Her Majesty the Queen's birthday on August 12, meditating along with the Abbot of Wat Paknam. This is just one example of mediation for the public. Whenever our nation has serious problems such as a serious demonstration, we will help with meditation for the nation. Here at the temple we have daily regular practice at 4:30 am, 7:30 am, 6:30 pm, and 9:30 pm. Every first Saturday of the month, lay people from Bangkok and other provinces come here to perform merit and meditate. Every Sunday at 9:30 am and 1:00 pm and Mondays and Thursdays at 6:30 pm I also teach meditation at Wat Saket in Bangkok. We support any temple or

organization that would like to train their own people by supplying qualified meditation masters from here and by giving advice throughout the nation and abroad. I have been invited to give lectures and teach in Malaysia 2-3 times a year over the past six years and I have been lecturing in the United States for four years now. The Somdej Phra Buddhacarn of Wat Saket has, however, advised me to encourage foreigners to come here for training rather than me going abroad to teach, because, after all, I am starting to get old. These are our current activities. As for the future, my plans are to establish mobile meditation teams. After the two main meditation retreats of the year in May and December, I will organize it so that the visiting monks can make two or three stops on their way back to their own temples to teach meditation at other selected temples. Next year, in May, I plan to have a team covering the South, and next December the Mobile Meditation Team will teach in the North and Southern part of the Northeast. We will also try to get to the Northern part of the Northeast for a couple of weeks before the coming May retreat. Hopefully, within the next five years I will have enough teams to cover the whole country regularly. I am hoping that this meditation method will enable people to become more peaceful and have more prosperity. Furthermore, I hope this meditation method will be able to help remove the suffering and "un-peace" in this country and in the world. In 1991 this area was registered as a legitimate organization or temple, and on July 9th of the same year I was unanimously voted for and then appointed as the Abbot. So, that is the history of this temple and why I selected the Vijja Dhammakaya approach as our meditation method and why I quit my job at age 57, three years before my retirement age, to become a monk for life.


Chapter VII

In conclusion, we have deliberated on the principles and practice of Dhammakaya meditation in considerable detail. We noted that Vijja Dhammakaya combines aspects of concentration (samatha) and wisdom (vipassana) meditation. These, together with morality (sila) make up the Noble Eightfold Path.

Vijja Dhammakaya samatha meditation utilizes three of Lord Buddha's forty concentration devices: visualization of the light sphere (aloka kasina), repetition of a mantra samma arahan to call Lord Buddha's wisdom and purity into the mind (Buddhanussati), and mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati). The fourth principle at the heart of Vijja Dhammakaya is concentration at the center of the center. By bringing the mind to rest at the center of the body, the meditator can see his or her own Dhamma sphere which reveals the consequences of moral behavior. Continually focusing at the center of the center, the practitioner can proceed through ever purer body-minds all the way to nibbana.

Vijja Dhammakaya vipassana practice aims at Right Wisdom through contemplation of the body, feelings, mental functions and phenomena (dhamma). There are two levels, mundane Right Understanding of compound phenomena (sankhara) and supra-mundane Right Understanding of non-compound nature (visankhara) which is nibbana and Dhammakaya. Vijja Dhammakaya is especially effective in helping meditators to experience non-compound nature directly. The real heart of Vijja Dhammakaya meditation is practice. Now that you have read about the principles and techniques, I strongly urge you to put them to use. Academic learning can indicate the way, but direct experience through meditation is the path to purification and wisdom.

The Venerable CHAO KHUN PHRA MONGKOL-THEPMUNI ( Sodh Chandasaro )

The Late Abbot of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen By

Phra BHAVANA-KOSOL THERA ( Veera Genuttamo )

The Master of the Vijja Dhammakaya, approach, the late Venerable Chao Khun Phra

Mongkol-Thepmuni, is fondly known and revered throughout the land as Luang Phor Wat Paknam, or simply as "Luang Phor". Luang Phor was born October 10 BE 2427 (1884) to a humble rice-merchant family of Supanburi Province, as Sodh, the second child of Nai Ngern and Nang Sudjai Meekaewnoi. As was typical in those days, young Sodh received his education from the temples. At fourteen, when his father died, he became the chief bread winner for the family. Successful as he was in rice trading, at age nineteen the compassionate young man resolved to become a monk (bhikkhu ) for life. Having made arrangements to ensure his mother's welfare, the young man entered the monkhood three years later in July BE 2449 (1906). At the age of twenty-two, he was ordained as Candasaro Bhikkhu at Wat Songpeenong, near his home. Phra Ajahn Dee of Wat Pratusarn, Supanburi, was his main Preceptor. The day after his ordination, Candasaro Bhikkhu began meditation practice and study of Pali scriptures. In search of deeper and wider knowledge, he moved from Wat Songpeenong to Wat Bodhi (Wat Phra Chetupon Vimonmangkalaram) in Bangkok. There, he frequented the centers of meditation practice and Pali study. Soon, Luang Phor was recognized by his teachers, Phra Khru Nanavirati (Po) of Wat Bodhi and Phra Ajahn Singha of Wat Lakorn Tham, as an accomplished meditation instructor. During those early dry seasons, Luang Phor adopted thudonga vatra, the custom of wandering in solitude through the forest wilderness, staying in caves and practicing the Dhamma with piety. After ten years, Luang Phor set aside his informal study of Pali Scriptures, having reached sufficiency to read the Maha Satipatthana Sutta. Thereafter, he devoted himself totally to meditation practice. Luang Phor spent the next Buddhist Lent at Wat Bang Khoo Vieng, on Bangkok Noi Canal, where his benefactor, Phra Ajahn Choom, was the abbot. There, at nightfall on the full-moon day of September, in his twelfth year as a Bhikkhu, Luang Phor prepared himself for meditation in the uposathaggam.. He invoked illumination and guidance, and made a vow dedicating his life to Buddhism. Luang Phor vowed not to rise from his seat in front of the Buddha statue until he was permitted to attain some understanding of the Dhamma as discerned by the Buddha. With his mind set and its components of vision, memory, thought and cognition all at rest at the center of his body, two finger-breadths above the navel, Luang Phor was able to penetrate the full depth of the Dhamma as it was revealed to and by the Buddha. That revelation of the Dhamma and ever more refined Dhammakayas (Dhamma bodies) was so profound that it was only possible when the mind was at rest at the body's center. After Lent, Luang Phor went to teach at Wat Bang Pla, where three monks and four laymen who followed his meditation procedure were also able to attain various degrees of insight. Thereafter, Luang Phor gradually became renowned throughout the land. Somdej Phra Vanarat, Head of Bhasicharoen Sangha District, spotted Luang Phor's potential and requested him to assume the Abbotship of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen. This was a neglected and deteriorating monastery erected five centuries earlier. Luang Phor wanted to decline this request,

but he could not. With utmost patience and remarkable leadership, Luang Phor gradually rebuilt the monastery until it is today one of the largest and most important monasteries in the land. In BE 2492 (1949), Luang Phor received the ecclesiastical rank of Phra Bhavan-Kosolthera. This was followed by the title of Phra Mongkol-Rajmuni, and in BE 2500 (1957) by the title Phra Mongkol-Thepmuni.

Vijja Dhammakaya, the revelation of the Dhamma as attained by Luang Phor, was the heart of his teaching. His service to Buddhism can be seen from his regular routine: Meditating day and night with bhikkhus and upasikas in different sessions Leading bhikkhus and samaneras in the uposathaggam. every morning and evening, paying homage to the Triple Gems and ending with a sermon Teaching public meditation practice every Thursday at 2:00 pm Delivering public sermons on holy days (Uposatha or Wan Phra ) and Sundays Supervising the Pali Institute Thus, Luang Phor devoted his time and effort almost exclusively to teaching meditation. His disciples multiplied into the thousands. It was not uncommon for revered bhikkhus in far corners of the country, who apparently never met Luang Phor, to know him well and to respect him as their mentor. His decease at the age of seventy-five, on February 3 BE 2502 (1959) was just a pause for the immortal master. His life should serve to remind other mortals to pursue their own obligations to the Noble Path carefully. Luang Phor's teachings live on, manifesting the Ultimate Righteous Truth .

General Meditation Techniques & Advantages of Buddhist Meditation Dhammakaya Approach

General Meditation Techniques By

Phra Ajan Maha Sermchai Jayamanggalo

There are two principle techniques in meditation. They are known as Samatha Meditation and
Vipassana Meditation. Samatha Meditation Samatha Meditation deals with concentration in order to remove the "five hindranced" to wisdom. the five hindrances are the attachment to sensual desire, ill-will, inactiveness, anxiety and doubtfulness. Lord Buddha had taught forty methods on Samatha meditation. Any one of these methods or a combination of them may be selected to help the mind concertrate. Vipassana Meditation Vipassana Meditation is the technique to develop the Right Wisdom derived from the contemplation of the physical body, feelings, mental activites and Dhamma. the contemplation of Dhamma is necessary to create awareness of the Five Hindrances, the attachment to The Five Groups of Existence or Aggregates, the Four Noble Truths, The Eight-fold Noble Paths, to mention a few. Fianlly, one must develop The seven Enlightenment Factors which are mindfulness, Dhamma nanlysis, effort, joy, tranquility, concentration and equanimity. The Right Wisdom, once developed, would enable a person to understand clearly the Three Characteristics of Compounds. All compounds are subjected to change and caouse suffering for those who attach to them. Finally, all compounds are void self. the higher level of understanding is to ralize the Four Noble Truths which are Suffering, Cause of suffering. Therefore, Vipassana Meditation when fully developed would be the key to a happy file, one which is far from sufferings.

Advantages of Buddhist Meditation Dhammakaya Approach

1. Meditation helps to reduce agitation of the mind. It also anchors the mind in tranquility and calmness.

2. Meditation can reduce defilements and craving which dull,darken and sadden the mind. 3. Meditation can help one develop mindfulness, clear comprehension, and wisdom. One is able to walk the right path ant not allow oneself to stumble into harmful ways. 4. A concentrated ans calm mind enebles one to analyze and solve problems correctly and in a precise manner. 5. Meditation improves one's physical and mental health. Those who come into contact with a healthy person need not suffer from the poor mentality of that person. On the other hand, there will be peace in the society due to an increase in the number of people having their verbal and bodily actions in accordance with the Dhamma. 6. Meditation, with morality as a basis, will yield the highest benefits to those who practise it. It could lead to Path, Fruition and Nibbana ( cool peacefulness). When the store of merits increases through Dhamma practice and supersedes the store of demerits, the benetifts from the merits will be realized first. Therefore, those who always practice meditation and possess good ethical conduct will experience joy and happiness in their worldly and spiritual lives.